By NewsLine Staff

The Bolles Reflection Garden on the Upper School San Jose Campus is now home to a sculpture created and donated by Gordon Gund, a successful businessman, investor and prominent philanthropist who has generously supported The Bolles School in memory of his late wife Llura “Lulie” Liggett Gund ’58 Bartram.

The piece, entitled “Flukes,” is a whale tail made of cast bronze, which was carefully installed by the Bolles operations team on Dec. 7 via a large crane and many expert hands. Gund created the piece using only his hands and memory as he lost his eyesight in 1971. 

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The inspiration for “Flukes” comes from a powerful experience Gund and his sons had rescuing pilot whales off the coast of their family home in Nantucket. On a Fourth of July weekend, Gund received a call from a friend who had spotted a pod of pilot whales stranded on an exposed sandbar about 100 yards offshore. The whales found themselves in this position after following the school’s alpha whale, which was dying and had beached itself.

Gund, his sons and their friends, who were in town for the holiday, joined neighbors and local fishermen in saving as many pilot whales as possible. They put sheets underneath the whales and worked together to push them back into the water, and others even tied ropes around the whales’ flukes to pull them back to the safety of the sea. But the instinct to follow their alpha was too strong for some, with several choosing to swim back onto the sandbar after being rescued. Many survived due to the group’s efforts. Gund said that those who lived would swim deep and make sounds as they reconnected with their pod — and that was what he envisioned while creating “Flukes.”

“The sculpture has so many facades of inspiration for our Bolles community, whether drawing from the history of the artist, the partnership between Mr. and Mrs. Gund in relation to the art and life, the story of what inspired the sculpture, or the exposure our students have to seeing a piece of art on campus that is part of a collection that has been celebrated at a multitude of private and prestigious public institutions,” said Carol Nimitz, Bolles Chief Advancement Officer. “It is a tremendous gift that will serve as a reminder to students that no matter where they roam, they always have a home to return to here at Bolles.”

Photo courtesy Bolles

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