An inside look at
library, gallery and
James Profet, visiting from Hanford, Calif, with 18 family members, is seen with The Huntington’s most famous artwork, Thomas Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy.” Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
THE WORLD FAMOUS Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is just one of several globally known attractions in Pasadena, California, where I live.
On a sultry Monday afternoon it was packed with visitors from all points of the compass, exploring the world renowned paintings, breathtaking gardens and ambience of the 207-acre gounds just 2.5 miles from my front door.
Barbara Canaday, who hails from Glendale, Calif,. the neighboring city, has been a docent at The Huntington for 14 years.
“It’s a very interesting job,” Canaday told me, “otherwise I would not be spending my retirement here.” She is 82.
CANADAY, A FORMER LIBRARIAN at Glendale High School, usually guides tours of the Huntington Library for school children, but since they’re off for the summer, she now works at the Welcome Center for the Huntington Art Gallery.
Docent Barbara Canaday greets guests at the Huntington Art Gallery on Monday. She has been a docent for 14 years.
Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
She explained the ornate Greco-Roman style structure was previously the “ranch house” of Henry Huntington (1850-1927), a railroad magnate who cashed in on the railroad boom of the second part of the 19th century. At least he did some good things with all the cash; his legacy is a global one.
The art gallery bearing his name is notable for its world renowned originals. Its collection of Thomas Gainsborough’s masterpieces is unrivaled.
OF COURSE, THE HUNTINGTON’S most famous piece is Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy.”
James Profet, visiting the gallery with about 18 family members from Hanford, Calif., was in town for a wedding. He said he was just a boy when he first saw “Blue Boy.”
“I was here in 1968 or 1969,” the quiet, unassuming father of two sons said.
The original of Edward Hopper’s “The Long Leg” is on display at The Huntington Art Gallery. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
There’s one piece on display of particular interest to me. Edward Hopper’s “The Long Leg,” is hidden in a tiny “annex” type gallery down a long hallway (I had to ask several times for directions) but when I found it, it was worth the trip.
The lonesome sailboat, with not a person in the image, speaks of the vastness of the ocean and the alone-ness of the human condition, a frequent Hopper topic.
A print of the original hangs above the mantelpiece in my living room.
Apart from the room-size paintings, the many hallways and gardens are filled with surprise art objects of every type imaginable.
A print of Edward Hopper’s “The Long Leg” hangs above the matlepiece in my living room. Everything about it is cool. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
Szuwen Lin, a resident of Thailand who hails from Taiwan, was snapping a photo of one statue when it caught my eye.
She and her two children, Yenling Lu, 11, and Yunan Lu, 8, are on a three-month visit with friends in Los Angeles.
“We have been to the Getty (L.A.’s other world renowned art hot spot), and we’re now here,” Lin said.
It is Yunan’s ninth birthday today, so guess where this family is going? Disneyland, of course!
After getting my fill of famous art and inspiration, I took a wrong turn and ended up in a tropical rainforest. In the middle of Pasadena?
Well, it may not exactly be quite the same, but the experience is definitely similar. I had to use the compass on my smartphone to find my way out. No kidding!
The Huntington it open during the summer from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm.
Last fall, I attended a fabulous evening film screening at The Huntington Gardens after dark presented by the Art Director’s Guild of America (Los Angeles Chapter). It is a unique locale for outdoor entertainment of this nature.
Whatever else you might miss on a visit to Southern California, this world renowned complex is a must-see. It is a short ride downhill on my bicycle from my home.
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