Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ralph Lanning Garden, Republic, MO

This painted concrete sign faces the roadway as you enter the Garden.
“ANGEL GABRIEL,” blowing his horn. You can begin to get the idea of the art environment in this photo.
Here’s Ralph, just back from laying Gretchen to rest, showing me a doll that he and Gretchen collaborated on.
One of many stone carvings on the Lanning property.
“LADY GODIVA,” a massive concrete sculpture. It’s at least 20 years old.

Yesterday, November 21, 2008, was the funeral of Ralph Lanning’s wife Gretchen. Gretchen was 91 years old, and Ralph is 92. They have had a great creative partnership for so many years—Ralph with his garden of life-sized concrete figures and smaller stone carvings—Gretchen inside working on her father’s 100-year old loom and crocheting. Together, they made quite the pair. Lanning Garden is situated on just over 6 acres of land on the east side of Republic, Missouri. He loves visitors, and now that he is alone, visitors will be especially welcome. Ralph is one of the few (and rare) self-taught "stone carvers left. It’s a very difficult art form.

Ralph built the house he lives in by hand— himself. As a kid, he sold sassafras door-to-door and later, as a young man, worked for the WPA building bridges and dams. During WWII, Ralph came ashore at Normandy as part of the American and British invasion. He began his garden like so many art environment builders, to share with the world and leave a lasting legacy. He has accomplished that— and more. On the other side of the “Lanning Garden” concrete heart sign you see pictured above, are the words: “IF HEAVEN IS HALF AS BEAUTIFUL AS HERE ON EARTH, THEN I DON’T WANT TO MISS IT.” No need to worry Ralph, you won’t. Learn more here: Raw Vision Magazine

1 comment:

Joyce said...

Ralph passed away in December. What a loss. The sculptures in the garden are to be auctioned off Friday, April 9. You can see the 120 sculptures that are to be auctioned by visiting the Web site There are only a few more days to visit the garden before the auction.

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