Sculpture Gardens

Collections of outdoor artwork sprout up around the West.

Conversation Piece V, a sculpture at S.F.'s de Young Museum

Conversation Piece V by Juan Munoz at San Francisco's de Young Museum.

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DI ROSA PRESERVE: ART & NATURE SCULPTURE MEADOW
5200 Carneros Hwy. 121, Napa. Calif., (707) 226-5991, www.dirosapreserve.org.

A trail through Napa grasslands winds past dozens of sculptures by Bay Area artists from the 1960s to now. Samuel Yates's 60-foot-high Minuet in MG holds the Guinness World Record as the world's tallest file cabinet. Saturday tours April through October; call for reservations.

CORNERSTONE GARDENS
23570 Hwy. 121, Sonoma, Calif., (707) 933-3010, www.cornerstoneplace.com.

Claude Cormier's Blue Tree masks a native pine with 50,000 baby blue Christmas balls; a UC Davis student installation leads through crimson bamboo stalks to a reflecting pool, where a quote from Francis Bacon floats on the surface.

RODIN SCULPTURE GARDEN
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., (650) 723-4177 or for tours call (650) 723-3469, museum.stanford.edu/view/rodin_garden.html.

The largest collection of Rodin bronzes outside of Paris. Look closely at The Gates of Hell for miniature versions of the well-known sculptures The Thinker and Paolo and Francesca. Night lighting mimics gentle flames, honoring the artist's fondness for showing his works by candlelight.

BARBRO OSHER SCULPTURE GARDEN
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, at the de Young Museum, San Francisco. (415) 750-3600, www.famsf.org/deyoung.

It's worth venturing outside the museum to see a 21-foot safety pin and peer up at the changing sky from within James Turrell's Three Gems "skyspace," a tunnel carved in a grassy hill with a central rotunda open to the elements.

FRANKLIN D. MURPHY SCULPTURE GARDEN
University of California, Los Angeles, North Campus. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/collections/detail/collection_id/6.

Purple jacaranda blossoms and soft green grass frame more than 70 modern and contemporary sculptures, from Gerhard Marcks's female nude, Maja to Mère Ubu, a twisted bronze from Joan Miró.

FRAN AND RAY STARK SCULPTURE GARDEN
1200 Getty Center Dr., at the Getty Center, Los Angeles. (310) 440-7300, www.getty.edu.

Located outdoors around the tram entrance, works such as Henry Moore's bronze Draped Reclining Mother and Baby and Elisabeth Frink's Running Man provide plenty to contemplate during the uphill ride to the museum.

OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK
2901 Western Ave., Seattle, (206) 654-3100, www.seattleartmuseum.org.

A Z-shaped pathway at the site of a former waterfront petroleum transfer station leads art lovers past 22 sculptures, including Richard Serra's monolithic steel Wake and Alexander Calder's 39-foot red Eagle, which looks set to take flight over Puget Sound.

Photography courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Joseph McDonald

This article was first published in March 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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