When Sam and Robbie Vickers of Jacksonville set out over 40 years ago to purchase artwork created in Florida, they set in motion what would gradually grow to become one of the most significant and valuable collections of art made in and about Florida in the state’s history.
An impressive portion of that collection -- some 170 pieces by 125 artists out of more than 1,200 pieces by 700 artists -- is on display through July at the Harn Museum in Gainesville. Admission is free.
The Vickers donated their collection, which some value at more than $50 million, to the University of Florida.
The artwork dating back to the late 1800s includes paintings by famous artists like Winslow Homer, Thomas Moran, John Singer Sergeant, and Louis Comfort Tiiffany (yes, the glass guy), as well as by lesser known artists like Robert John Curtis, Marguerite Zorach, Stevan Dohanos, Helen Savier DuMond, William Aiken Walker, and Laura Woodward.
The Harn exhibit called A Florida Legacy is displayed in sections titled Florida Nature, Florida History, Florida Landmarks, Florida Living, Florida Diversions, and Florida Impressions. Visitors will recognize many of the places depicted and find most of the people portrayed to look and feel familiar.
The Harn Museum of Art
is on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, about 2 hours north of Tampa just off Interstate 75.
The Harn’s permanent collection totals more than 13,300 objects including African, Asian, modern and contemporary art, and photography. Photo by Diane Egner
Generous philanthropic donations made it possible for the The Harn to open in 1990, expand over time, and continue to offer a variety of exhibitions today. Photo by Diane Egner
The exhibit called A Florida Legacy includes about 170 pieces from the Sam and Robbie Vickers collection. Photo by Diane Egner
A Florida Legacy is displayed in sections about the state’s nature, history, landmarks, diversions, living and impressions. Photo by Diane Egner
The Florida History section includes Osceola of Florida by Robert John Curtis, Portrait of a Seminole Chief by Stewart Westmacott and Shooting Flamingos by George de Forest Brush. Photo by Diane Egner
American artist Marguerite Zorach portrays Mary Eliza’s Cabin in Chipley, FL. Photo by Diane Egner
Frames used to display the Florida artwork in the Vickers Collection at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville are as unique as what they contain. Photo by Diane Egner
Artist Helen Savier DuMond’s portrayal of the Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota. Photo by Diane Egner
Artist Reynolds Beal’s portrayal of the Hillsborough River with the University of Tampa’s minarets in the background. Photo by Diane Egner
Artist Martin J. Heade, who died in 1904, saw beauty in Florida Oleanders, a fast-growing and poisonous evergreen native to North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean regions. Photo by Diane Egner
Florida Lemons by William McCloskey. Photo by Diane Egner
Visitors to the Vickers collection at The Harn may also want to check out the permanent collection focused on Asian, African, modern and contemporary art, as well as photography. Photo by Diane Egner