Destination: Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville

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.

Read more articles by Diane Egner.

Diane Egner is an award-winning journalist with four decades of experience writing about the Tampa Bay region. She is a member of Leadership Florida and the Athena Society, and serves on the board of The Institute for Research in Art (Graphicstudio, the Contemporary Art Museum, and USF’s Public Art Program) Community Advisory Council and the StageWorks Theatre Advisory Council. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism, she won the top statewide award for editorial writing from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors while at The Tampa Tribune and received special recognition by the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists for creative work as Content Director at WUSF Public Broadcasting. Past accomplishments and community service include leadership positions with Awesome Tampa Bay, Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Alpha House of Tampa Bay, Florida Kinship Center, AIA Tampa Bay, Powerstories, and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. She lives in South Tampa, is the mother of two adult daughters and grandmother to two amazing grandchildren, and travels whenever possible with laptop in tow.