Jean Antoine Houdon
A renovated Huntington Art Gallery

THE PAVED terrace behind the Huntington Art Gallery is 80 paces wide. By my stride, that's more than 165 feet. Stand at the center and look south, with the imposing Beaux-Arts mansion and its striped green awnings at your back, and infinity rolls out before you. Over the Italianate balustrade, between stone urns carved with rams' heads, ribbons and grape garlands, hinting at Dionysian revelry; down across the lawn that separates a stand of tropical palms from a grove of live oaks; skimming the tops of jacaranda, the continuum unfurls. It proceeds unimpeded into an atmospheric haze, a horizon line almost impossible to detect. San Marino's Huntington Art Gallery reemerges...