Museum staff and visitors view “Rain Mountain” after the unveiling. Photo by Chris Jennewein

A classic sculpture by influential Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi that had languished in storage at the San Diego Museum of Art was unveiled Wednesday after a six-month restoration.

Rain Mountain” uses alternating galvanized steel panels to evoke light and shadow on distant mountains, while patterns in the zinc coating suggest rain droplets. It is one of eight sculptures crafted by the famous artist in 1982 and 1983.

The eight-foot sculpture was given to the museum six years ago, but remained in storage until Bank of America provided $35,000 for its restoration.

“What’s better than to add another piece of art to our collection?” said Roxana Velásquez, the museum’s executive director, during an unveiling ceremony in the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden. “It was a gift we received in 2012 and it needed conservation.”

Roxana Velásquez stands next to the sculpture.

Curator Anita Feldman said Noguchi was known for “reductive forms to capture the essence.” She drew attention to the contrast with a nearby mid-century classic, a dark cast-iron sculpture by Alexander Calder.

The refurbishing was part of the Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project, which since 2010 has provided funds for more than 150 restorations in 31 countries, recently including works by Paul Cezanne and Diego Rivera and the famous “Blue Boy” painting by Thomas Gainsborough.

“We do it because we know that arts matter,” said Ross Harter with Bank of America in San Diego. “These art treasurers represent the creativity and passion of people throughout the world over thousands of years.”

The sculpture garden, which is located behind the Panama 66 restaurant, is open to the public beginning at 11 a.m. weekdays and 10:00 a.m. on weekends.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.