The Huntington: Classy and Comfortable

The Stargazing Tower, one of the new pavilions in the expanded section of the Huntington’s Chinese Garden. The Stargazing Tower offers sweeping views of the lake and garden below and of the “borrowed landscape” beyond, including the San Gabriel Mountains and Mount Wilson Observatory, which inspired the pavilion’s name. (Photo: Beth Coller. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens)
This California museum is there to make new things grow — botanically, aesthetically, and intellectually.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Blue Boy, painted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1770, is shown in the grand painting salon at the Huntington in San Marino in California or, precisely, the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. I think it’s as famous as Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1, or Whistler’s Mother, Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, Michelangelo’s David, and Warhol’s Gold Marilyn.

The Blue Boy (c. 1770) by Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788). Post-conservation photo. (Photo: Christina Milton O’Connell. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens)

Gainsborough argued at the time that a portrait’s dominant color should be blue for coolness as opposed to using warm colors, so The Blue Boy might

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