A Garden for Art Outdoor Sculpture at The Hirshhorn Museum

Valerie J. Fletcher

The Hirshhorn Museum's sculpture garden provides a contemplative haven in the heart of Washington.

More than sixty sculptures in a broad range of styles dating from the 1880s through the 1960s are displayed in it, while another dozen sculptures from the 1960s to the 1990s occupy the plaza around the museum building. Together the landscaped grounds form an outdoor gallery that is enjoyed by more than 340,000 visitors annually. In her introductory essay, Valerie Fletcher records the little-known history of the Hirshhorn Museum's garden and plaza, and provides a succinct overview of one hundred years of subjects and styles as represented in the Hirshhorn's sculpture collection. This is followed by sumptuous photographs of the sculptures and of the garden's changes through the seasons. Among the artists represented are Rodin, Bourdelle, Maillol, Matisse, Archipenko, Lachaise, Miro, Calder, Picasso, Smith, Moore, Kelly, Cragg, and Shea. Texts on the individual works address many of the comments made by visitors to the garden, from queries about Rodin's Burghers of Calais to wonderment at the celestial surprise hidden within Snelson's abstract Needle Tower.


Valerie J. Fletcher


Valerie Fletcher is Curator of Sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum.