CULTURE MONSTER

Huntington to debut $10.3-million expansion this fall

There’s even more room for American art at the Huntington — yet again.

The San Marino-based Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens on Thursday announced a $10.3-million expansion to its Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. The addition, designed by Frederick Fisher, will add 8,600-square-feet to the building, 5,000 of which is new gallery space, as well as a glassed-in lobby to the building’s South side, making entrance to that part of the building far more accessible.

What’s being called the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Wing, after the project’s lead donors, will debut on Oct. 22. It will feature 18th and early 19th-century American art.

When it opens this fall, the new wing will show an inaugural exhibition of more than 200 paintings, furniture pieces and decorative works from the Fieldings’ own collection; some of those works on view, the Huntington says, are promised gifts to the institution.

"They have developed a focused and important body of historical works," Huntington art collections director Kevin Salatino said of the Fieldings. "And we plan to highlight them in a creative installation that enhances their educational content as well as their powerful aesthetic qualities.”

The new wing is the third expansion of the Huntington’s American art galleries since 2005. The Paul Gray-designed Neoclassical building, with it’s exterior columns, was originally built in 1984 and debuted with about 1,000 works of art in its collection; it underwent an expansion — also designed by Fisher — in 2005, adding 9,500 square feet of modern classical gallery space to the building’s West side as well as a glassed-in lobby overlooking the gardens.

In 2014, the gallery area was again expanded into a former storage area, bringing the display space for art up to 21,000 square feet. At that time, the collection housed 12,285 works of art.

The new Fisher addition has been in the works for about a year. Its glassed-in lobby, which faces a curvy path leading through the nearby Shakespeare Garden, adds symmetry to the building, the Huntington says.

“The educational and inspirational value of the new wing is immeasurable,” Huntington President Laura Skandera Trombley added in a statement. “It will bring to light unforgettable works made with American originality, and is sure to delight and surprise visitors of all ages.”

The original 1984 portion of the building has been closed since the project’s groundbreaking in April 2015. It will reopen on June 18.

deborah.vankin@latimes.com

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