The sculpture garden

Because of the museum’s exceptional setting, director A.H. Hammacher began to dream of exhibiting art outside as well. In 1961 the sculpture garden was opened, designed by Professor Dr. Ir. J.T.P. Bijhouwer, with works by Rodin, Moore and Hepworth, among others. Grassy lawns were furnished like museum rooms, and relationships were carefully sought between the sculptures themselves and between the sculptures and their natural surroundings.

In 1964 a pavilion by architect Gerrit Rietveld was rebuilt in the sculpture garden. This small building had been designed by Rietveld in 1955 for an open-air exhibition in Arnhem and was especially intended for displaying sculptures out of doors. In 2010, the museum has rebuild the pavillion for the second time (more information).

At the end of the sixties, concepts such as movement and change entered the art world. For many artists, the environment of the work of art began to play an important role, even in the idea phase. To give these artists (among whom were Snelson, Christo and Serra) enough room, both literally and figuratively, areas of woodland were twice added to the sculpture garden.

The works of art were now spread across the entire terrain, the one clearly visible, the other secluded in a remote corner or hidden among the rhododendrons. Each piece had become inextricably linked with its place in the sculpture garden. In 1974 Princess Beatrix opened one of the most famous works in the sculpture garden: ‘Jardin d’émail’ by Jean Dubuffet.

In 1990 the sculpture garden was in need of renovation. Director Evert van Straaten, in collaboration with West 8 Landscape Architects, worked on a long-range plan. The original design was re-emphasized and unified by means of later expansions. In the summer of 2002 the sculpture garden was reopened.

In 2006 a sculpture pavilion by the Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck was erected in the back of the sculpture garden. Like the Rietveld Pavilion it was a reconstruction. This design, from 1966, had also originally been intended for the sculpture exhibition at Park Sonsbeek in Arnhem.

The sculpture garden