Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

Yesterday I visited the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, FL. Born Ann Weaver, she attended Smith College in Massachusetts and then put herself through art schools in New York City when her parents refused to pay for her schooling. Ann wrote and illustrated three children's books and taught art classes in order to support herself. 

She moved to Palm Beach, FL when she was hired to teach sculpture in the Norton Museum of Art. She became a good friend of the founder Ralph Norton and later they married after his first wife had passed away. I thought it was particularly amusing that Ann told Ralph that she would not share in his duties in the Norton Art Museum or be "on his arm" as a dutiful wife, she was a sculptor and was going to sculpt. Ralph purchased their home and grounds on Flagler Drive as a place for Ann to work. 

Her sculptures are placed amidst the many species of trees and plants in her gardens, sculpture and plantings complimenting one another. I was especially in awe of her incredible studio space, it still contains her tools, materials and small studies and sculptures. I could feel the spirit of Ann working as I walked through in quiet awe.

Also showing in Ann's gardens this season are Todd McGrain's Lost Bird Project, prints, drawings and bronze sculptures of extinct birds he has studied. And Sophie Ryder's lady hare sculptures in wire or bronze. 

Todd McGrain, The Lost Bird Project

Beings by Ann Norton

Rising by Sophie Ryder

Ann Norton sculpture constructed of handmade bricks.

Girl Leaning on Horse by Sophie Ryder

Ann's studio

Sophie Ryder sculpture in Ann's studio

Ann's studio, small studies for sculptures and horse by Sophie Ryder.

Back view of Sophie Ryder's sculpture in Ann's studio.

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