The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art occupies approximately five acres in City Park adjacent to the Museum. Atypical of most sculpture gardens, this Garden is located within a mature existing landscape of Pines, Magnolias and Live Oaks. The garden design creates outdoor viewing spaces within this picturesque landscape. A re-configured lagoon bisects the site and creates two distinct halves: a mature Pine and Magnolia grove adjacent to the Museum, and a more open area of two-hundred year old Live Oaks across the lagoon near the New Orleans Botanical Garden. The Sculpture Garden is designed for approximately sixty sculptures, most of them donated to the New Orleans Museum of Art by the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation.
A pair of cast stone and bronze pavilions with clerestory windows
marks the entry to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture
Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The pavilions,
which face a large meadow adjacent to the Museum's entry
drive, flank a large plaza containing Henry Moore's
"Reclining Mother and Child". The pavilions and entry
plaza also establish a centerline through the depth
of the garden that becomes an organizing element of
The garden is bisected by a lagoon which has been re-shaped into two basins on either side of the central pedestrian bridge. These lagoon basins each contain a sculpture, Kenneth Snelson's "Virlane Tower" and Arman's "Pablo Casal's Obelisk". By locating these vertical sculptures in the water, their reflections become part of the compositions.
A total of three pedestrian bridges cross the lagoon and connect the two sides of the garden. The entries to the bridges are marked by simple, cast stone pylons that support bronze lanterns. Side rails constructed of bronze and stainless steel mesh reflect the light and allow views through the bridges. This combination of cast stone lantern pylons and bronze with stainless mesh is repeated in the form of monumental gates at the main entry and two secondary entries.
A picturesque composition of curvilinear paths compliments the mature trees while creating smaller viewing areas, or "galleries", within the garden. These paths also connect a series of garden features including the Overlook Terrace, the Exedra at the end of one of the pedestrian bridges, the monumental Water Steps at one of the secondary entrances, the elliptical Sculpture Theater containing smaller pieces of sculpture and the Cascade Garden Pool containing Robert Graham's "Source Figure". The pathways also frame the elliptical Pine Grove immediately off of the main entry plaza and the large Oak Lawn at the opposite end of the garden. With the exception of the lagoon, the Oak Lawn is the most open space in the garden and contains some of the larger sculptures including works by Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Elizabeth Frink, Joel Shapiro and Claes Oldenburg.
Limestone Finish Architectural Precast Concrete cladding at buildings and site features; Statuary Finish Bronze Doors, Entry Gates, Bridge Handrails, and Light Fixtures; Brushed Stainless Steel frame and mesh panels at Entry Gates; Sandblasted Glass at Pavilion Clerestories and Light Fixtures; Tudor Finish Limestone Gray unit pavers at Garden Pathways and Plazas.
Docent Services including a Ticket Window, Staff Lounge, Staff Restroom, Security Office, and Public Restrooms.
4.76 acres, including 127,000 square feet of planted area, 50,000 square feet of sod area, and 23,230 square feet of paved areas.
- 55 sculptures
- 3,236 linear feet of pathways
- Three pedestrian bridges crossing City Park Lagoon
- 687 square foot Cascade Garden Pool
- Seating areas and terraces with views across the
lagoon and through the garden
- Site lighting, including specialty lighting for
- Existing mature trees, including 27 Live Oaks, 1
Water Oak, 11 Southern Magnolias, 19 Slash Pines,
2 Bald Cypress and 1 Sweet Gum that required special
arboricultural treatment to the root zones and canopy
- New trees, including 9 Live Oaks, 15 Slash Pines,
23 Bald Cypress, 67 Little Gem Magnolias, and 28 Dr.
- New shrubs and plant material, including 63 Camellias
in 4 varieties; 344 Azaleas in 3 varieties; 1,181
Pittosporums in 3 varieties; 244 Japanese Ligustrums
in both tree and shrub form; 56 Cleyera; 15 Japanese
Yews; 42 Wax Myrtles; 20 Elaegnus; 14 Sago Palms; 5
Windmill Palms; and 86 Louisiana Sabal Palmettos
- Ornamental plantings including white and purple
blooming Lily of the Nile and 2 varieties of Ginger
- Holy Fern, Ardisia and Asian Jasmine groundcover
- Palmetto St. Augustine sod for all lawn areas
- A variety of vines at the perimeter fence including
Evergreen Wisteria, Carolina Yellow Jasmine, Evergreen
Clematis, Star Jasmine, Painted Trumpet Vine and Rose
- A variety of aquatic plantings at the lagoon edge
primarily consisting of purple and yellow blooming
varieties of Louisiana Iris, Yellow Flag Iris, Spider
Lily, Butterfly Iris and Horsetail
Architecture for Pavilions,
Bridges, Gates and Perimeter Fence:
and Sculpture Lighting Design:
Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc.
Civil and Structural Engineering:
Huseman Wang Consulting Engineers
Bayou Tree Service
GPS CAD Consultant:
Vollmer Associates, LLP
Structural Soil Consultant:
Chuck Friedrich, ASLA