Seward Johnson at Old Westbury Gardens

June 16 - September 4, Westbury House and Gardens

Seward Johnson sculptures have been turning heads and causing conversation for nearly 50 years. More than 450 of Johnson’s lifesize cast bronze figures have been featured in private collections and museums around the world.

Old Westbury Gardens and the Seward Johnson Atelier present this exhibition which features 38 selected works from two of his most popular series: Celebrating the Familiar, and Beyond the Frame. The sculptures will be displayed in Westbury House and across 80 acres of the Gardens.

Seward Johnson’s impact on the world of public sculpture has enhanced the physical landscape, as well as added to the dialogue about art in the public realm.

Seward Johnson at Old Westbury Gardens is free with admission (unless otherwise noted for special events). Photography is encouraged for personal use only. All sculptures © The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc. 

Celebrating the Familiar

Seward Johnson ExhibitInitially, the world came to know Seward Johnson through his sculptural commentary on day-to-day life. He engages us through the hyper-realistic bronzes of this Celebrating the Familiar series, which act as a mirror for us all. The works echo our myriad tasks and activities, catching our eye and calling attention to small pleasures and encounters.

One of Johnson’s primary focus points as an artist surfaced early on as he sought ways to celebrate what he refers to as “the beautiful moments of ordinary life”. Johnson’s sculptures explore these moments in ways that are familiar, personal, and distinctly human.

Beyond the Frame

Seward Johnson ExhibitThe Beyond the Frame series was triggered by Seward Johnson’s love of nature and his admiration of the paintings of the French Impressionists and Post Impressionists. Johnson began creating three-dimensional transformations of some of his favorite paintings by the French masters. He chose works by Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir but soon sculptures inspired by Manet, van Gogh and Caillebotte came to life in bronze. Johnson envisioned these works as environments in which the viewer becomes totally immersed in the three-dimensional journey within the painting. And as the sculptor, Johnson must imagine and add the details and the view from all angles that we do not on the canvases, hence “beyond the frame”.

About Seward Johnson

Seward JohnsonFollowing an early career as a painter, Seward Johnson turned his talents to the medium of sculpture. Since then, more than 450 of Johnson’s life-size cast bronze figures have been featured in private collections and museums in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as prominent places in the public realm such as Times Square and Rockefeller Center in New York City, Pacific Place in Hong Kong, Les Halles in Paris, and Via Condotti in Rome. Johnson initially became widely known for his sculptures depicting people engaged in every day activities. Johnson’s desire to highlight the mundane in his Celebrating the Familiar sculpture series has brought a unique voice to the world of art in public spaces. In recent years, Johnson has enlarged a select few sculptures into dramatic monumental scale for placement in the public domain. To date, these twenty to thirty foot presences have been on view in Rome, Normandy, China, San Diego, Sarasota, New York City and Chicago.

“What I am trying to do is to draw attention to the simple pleasures, to show how much fun life is.” —Seward Johnson

Sculpture Search in the Gardens Seward Johnson’s works are designed for interaction— interaction between the art and the landscape and interaction between the sculpture and the viewer.

Increase you enjoyment by picking up an activity sheet at Westbury House. These activity sheets will help guide you through an educational journey in the park while learning about sculpture.

Photo Contest
We are looking for the best and most unique photos of these sculptures taken by our visitors. Bring along your camera or phone and enter the photo contest. Post your photos at #owgsculptures. One photo will be profiled each month on our website. Please note that you cannot sell these images as the sculptures are copyright protected.

Exhibition Tours
Approximately 1-hour docent-led tour. Wednesdays and Sundays, June 21–September 3, 12pm Private tours are available for 8–15 persons, call 516.333.0048 x312 for more information.

An Evening with Seward Johnson
In celebration of the exhibition Old Westbury Gardens will host “An Evening with Seward Johnson.” This benefit evening will include remarks by Mr. Johnson followed by an opportunity to visit the exhibition. Complimentary drinks and light refreshments included. Friday, June 16, 7:00 pm –9:00 pm $30.00 / $25.00 member. Advance tickets required.  Click HERE to register ONLINE.

Photography Workshop
Through a guided tour of the grounds and the display you will discover more about your camera, be it a DSLR or an iPhone, and learn the basics through camera settings, composition, and lighting. Saturdya, June 17 (rain date Sunday, June 18). $20.00 / $10.00 member. Advance registration required. Please register ONLINE by clicking HERE.