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  • Museum of Art Fort LauderdaleMuseum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    The Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, in Florida, opened as the Fort Lauderdale Art Center in 1958 and is housed in a 75,000 square foot modernist style building that was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, with the newest building being built in 1986, and a 10,000 square foot wing added in 2001. The main viewing area contains 21,000 square feet, a sculpture terrace on the second floor that sits on 2800 square feet and it highlights the 20th century works of art, whereas those in nearby cities of Miami and Palm Beach contain artworks from every period. There are over 6200 marvelous pieces of art, with an impressive collection of ceramics by Picasso, and a contemporary Cuban collection that represents over 125 artists and it houses the biggest display of work from the Northern European CoBrA avant-garde movement; plus hold excellent collections of the Caribbean and South Florida. The museum has close ties with Nova Southeastern University, and in 2001 became bigger by adding another wing called the Glackens to hold a marvelous collections of over 500 works from American realist painter William Glackens. This 2000 square foot exhibit has the biggest amount of his works in the world, making claim to his oldest known work, the Philadelphia Landscape of 1893 and his last work, White Rose and Other Flowers from 1937. In 2005, the museum hosted a magnificent exhibition of artifacts from the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen, which made it one of only four in the nation to host this exhibit, that hadn't been in the country for a quarter of a century. More than 700,000 tickets were sold during its four month visit.  The museum began a new studio school in 2003, that would offer courses in drawing, design, painting and other disciplines that are taught by professional artists, and the classrooms are found in a historic building called the Travel Guard, that sits along the New River and is now known as the Studio School Annex. It has become the most prominent museum for art in the state and since 2003, has brought in over a million visitors each year.  Some of the current exhibitions include; Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Conde Nast Years 1923-1937; the Many Faces of CoBrA; Glackens as Illustrator; the Spectacle of Life: The Art of William Glackens; the Indigo Room or Is Memory Water Soluble; Constructed Reliefs from the Maurice and Sarah Lipschultz Collection and Conrad Marca-Relli. Ira Glackens passed away in 1991, and left his father's entire collection that contained over 200 works in a number of media, that was later augmented by 300 works that were donated by the Sansom Foundation, that was started by Nancy and Ira Glackens in the 1950s to manage their art collections. The Glackens collection is vast with his first and last works as well as many in between, with other works that were done by Glackens but under different names like; Ernest Lawson, John Sloan and Maurice Prendergast. The entire collection sits in the new wing that was constructed to hold all the collection, and was made possible by the Sansom Foundation. In 1938, after William had passed on, his wife, Edith decided to stop selling any more of his works, so that they would become available for future generations, and be part of a museum that was devoted to his works. She passed on in 1955 without ever achieving that goal, although her son was able to make that happen years later.  

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  • Bonnet House Museum and GardensBonnet House Museum and Gardens Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    The history of the Bonnet house site began millennia ago, when the Tequesta people left traces of their activity when archeologists discovered numerous remnants of them and the Spanish explorers and missionaries that came here. Its modern history began when Hugh Taylor Birch bought the site to give to his daughter, Helen and her new husband, Frederic Clay Bartlett, a well known Chicago artist, in 1919. The newlywed couple started building their dream house in 1920, anxious to have a winter retreat where Frederic could continue his work and Helen could compose poetry and music. In 1925, Helen suddenly passed away from breast cancer and Frederic didn't come here as often, until 1931, after he'd married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. All of a sudden the place was popular again, with many new decorative arts being brought to the house for visitors and guests. Frederic passed on in 1953, although Evelyn continued to come here each winter and then in 1983, she donated the house and property to the state of Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, the biggest contribution that was ever given in the state, with enough funds to make sure the estate would remain the same for many years. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and became a historic landmark in 2002. Huge crowds of people would attend the 1892 Chicago World's Fair and drive Hugh Taylor Birch to the south of Florida where he would thrive in the natural settings and wilderness that he loved and enjoyed. The outstanding art of the fair would effect another individual somewhat differently, Frederic Clay Bartlett, whose family business had been hardware, but he was more interested in the magnificent artworks that he had seen and appreciated so much. Frederic graduated from Munich's well known Royal Academy in 1895, and coming back to the states to start a prolific career, working on various mural projects with the likes of Howard Van Doren Shaw and other great artists that are shown in the Art Institute of Chicago, Corcoran Gallery and the Carnegie Institute. Many examples of his work are scattered throughout the house and in his studio, plus the many artworks that he and Helen had collected themselves. Some of these include George Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Paul Gaugin. Much of his work in collecting had been called genius, but he said that his greatest discovery was that of his third wife, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett, who without formal training but much encouraging complements by Frederic led her to try and she started in 1933, painting often for the next five years, getting great reviews for her work in New York, Indianapolis and Boston. Presently her works are shown in the Bonnet House's Carl J. Weinhardt Gallery.

January 11, 2011