The exhibition includes more than fifty paintings depicting the state’s environment, people and history, and celebrates the transformative gift of 1,200 works of art from Sam and Robbie Vickers; includes works by Martin Johnson Heade, Thomas Moran and Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Florida Impressions: Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers celebrates the transformative gift from Sam and Robbie Vickers who formed one of the most extensive collections of Floridathemed art. The exhibition, which opened on September 21 at the University of Florida’s Harn Museum of Art, will remain permanently on view. Curated by Dulce Román, the Harn’s Chief Curator and Curator for Modern Art, it follows the inaugural exhibition of the gift, A Florida Legacy, and includes more than 50 paintings representing 45 artists. The selected works on display cover a broad range of themes from scenic views of coastlines and waterways, to depictions of historic landmarks, and scenes capturing popular forms of entertainment enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Collectively, these paintings comprise a visual history of Florida, its unique topography and climate, as well as its people and their daily lives.
“Early visitors to Florida in the late 19th century, when much of the state was relatively inaccessible, included nationally prominent artists who are well represented in the exhibition. Examples include Martin Johnson Heade, Herman Herzog, Thomas Moran and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Inspired by the tropical beauty of the Florida landscape, many of these artists sought health, recreation and adventure as promoted in the travel literature of the day,” said Román. Florida Impressions also includes works by celebrated artists who visited Florida in the early to mid 20th century when tourism was booming due to greater accessibility through increased rail and road networks. Examples include Ralston Crawford, Ernest Lawson, Everett Shinn and Marguerite Zorach. The exhibition also features lesser-known figures such as Albert Backus, George Bertrand Mitchell and Jane Peterson, among many others.
The selection on view in Florida Impressions represents a small portion of the more than 1,200 works of art included in this major gift to the Harn Museum from Sam and Robbie Vickers at the end of 2020. The Jacksonville couple began meticulously and devotedly assembling their collection 40 years ago. The scope and importance of the Vickers’ collection has added considerably to the museum’s strategic plan. It will include the construction of a new wing designed by world renowned architects, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, and the expansion will feature galleries, a print study room and conservation center for the display and study of the collection. The museum is currently engaged in robust fundraising efforts to secure support for the expansion of the museum as a part of the University of Florida’s capital campaign
Since the inaugural exhibition of the couple’s collection at the Harn earlier this year, education has remained at the forefront of the gift. “The Vickers’ gift is an important new resource for the Harn and the University of Florida to strengthen faculty collaboration, support teaching and enhance class tours, and provide research projects for future study,” said Dr. Lee Anne Chesterfield, Harn Museum of Art Director. “The Harn has already formed multiple
internships and an interdisciplinary UF Honors course titled ‘Florida in the Frame,’ which all focus on the collection. We are so very thankful to Sam and Robbie Vickers for their generosity, and continue to place education at the forefront of their collection as we plan for its new home with the expansion project.”