After 12 years, a multi-million dollar art garden developed by an Auckland lawyer couple is finally opening to the public.
Sculptureum is a 10ha site in Matakana developed by Anthony and Sandra Grant who have spent many more years collecting art to fill three gardens, six galleries, a function centre and a new restaurant and bar, Rothko.
Due to open this week, it will feature the most substantial glass art on display in Australasia.
Designed by renowned US artist Dale Chihuly, the orange chandelier takes pride of place at Sculptureum.
The galleries display contemporary works by Cezanne, Monet, Chagall and Rodin as well as animal sculptures and contemporary works in plastic, metal and other materials from artists all over the world.
New Zealand artworks are also well represented among the 150 exhibits and some 400 works.
Sculptureum is bordered by the couple's vineyard so hospitality will be a feature of the operation.
The site's 80-seat restaurant, named after US artist Mark Rothko, is headed by chef Jarrod McGregor who plans dishes which use locally-available produce from surrounding suppliers.
Anthony Grant, father of Pop-up Globe co founder Tobias Grant, says he hopes the works will amuse, inspire and stimulate while making life a little more interesting.
He says works have been positioned to encourage a sense of curiosity and delight. It means a serious work might be next to a Nike-wearing alligator chasing frogs up a wall.
Works on display in the gardens start with prehistoric rocks before a winding path takes visitors through a variety of more modern pieces.
Animals also feature, with exotic birds housed in five aviaries dotted across the property, rabbits housed in a grassy arena named Rabbiton and turtles with their tanks positioned at eye height.
Sculptureum is scheduled to open at the end of the month, with guests welcome from Thursdays - Mondays.
• For more, see www.sculptureum.co.nz