The Cummer Museum of Art Presents A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era | Arts & Culture

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The Cummer Museum of Art Presents A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era
Arts & Culture

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens presents A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era on January 25, 2011.  The exhibition, on view through April 24, 2011, features 52 large-scale photographs of many well-known historic American estates by Carol Betsch, managing editor of the University of Massachusetts Press and written commentary by Robin Karson, founding director of The Library of American Landscape History.  From Stockbridge, Massachusetts to Santa Barbara, California, A Genius for Place exhibits seven landscape designs that were originally created as private estates, but have retained significant portions of the original layout and most are currently open to visitors.

“During our 50th Anniversary, it was important to be sure our historic gardens received the recognition they so rightly deserve,” said Cummer Curator Holly Keris.  “By including an exhibition like A Genius for Place, which highlights some of the most important domestic gardens ever created in our country, I hope our visitors will come to appreciate the beauty of our own gardens even more. Some of the landscape architects who worked on The Cummer estate are featured in A Genius for Place, and I believe this exhibition helps give a historical context to these special gardens that so many people in our community have come to love.” 

Karson and Betsch traveled to each landscape over a course of five years, capturing views that reveal the designers’ intentions for each place.  The seven selected landscapes represent the chronological development of an important movement in landscape design, the Country Place Era, when wealthy Americans commissioned renowned landscape architects to design country estates that emphasized the spirit of the land and importance of rural life. Borrowing from the Italian, English, Midwestern prairie garden styles and mixing in a bit modern art, architects created lavish backdrops for their client’s city escapes.

Featured estates include Delaware’s Winterthur designed by Henry F. du Pont and Marian Cruger Coffin; Val Verde, Santa Barbara, California, by Bertram Grovesnor Goodhue and Lockwood de Forest Jr.; Endsel and Eleanor Ford House, Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, by Jens Jensen; Naumkeag, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, by Nathan Franklin Barrett and Fletcher Steele; Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., by Beatrix Jones Farrand; Stan Hywet Hall, Akron, Ohio, by Warren H. Manning and Ellen Shipman and Gwinn Estate, Cleveland, Ohio, designed by Charles A. Platt, Warren H. Manning and Ellen Biddle Shipman, who had a hand in shaping The Cummer Gardens, along with the Olmsted Brothers Firm, in the early 20th century. 

Concurrently, visitors can see The Cummer Gardens from different perspectives and eras in the Community Garden Photography Show, which features photographs taken by local professional and amateur photographers of The Cummer Gardens over the last 50 years.  After an open call for submission from October to December 10, 2010, The Cummer received digital, film and Polaroid photographs of the garden ornaments, flowers, trees and statues.  Of these, 31 photos were selected for the exhibition. The exhibition will be on view from January 25 through April 24, 2011.

“It is remarkable to compare historic photographs and our present gardens today because it illustrates the careful preservation that has taken place over the years in order to retain the historical integrity of Mrs. Cummer's vision,” Keris said.  

Visitors can also view an archival exhibition of the Cummer Family’s historic photographs, diaries, and plant logs of their home, garden and travels and see how Mrs. Cummer, along with Ellen Biddle Shipman and the Olmsted Brothers Firm, collaborated to create the designs of The Cummer Gardens.  Located by the newly-restored Tudor Room, the exhibition illustrates how the family lived with and acquired their collection. The archival material is part of The Cummer Legacy, the first exhibition in 50 years to display, in one gallery, the original works of art that make up Mrs. Cummer’s gift that began The Cummer Museum.

These exhibitions will serve as the backdrop to The Cummer’s annual Garden Week celebration beginning Monday, March 14 through Saturday, March 19, 2011.  This year features speakers Nancy Clarke, longtime chief florist for the White House and Beverly Church, New Orleans author, designer and magazine editor. In addition to the   lectures, other events include Petals in Paint, an evening in the Gardens with floral interpretations of the art collection in several galleries, a Garden Concert featuring The Noel Friedline Quintet and Family Day.

A special media tour is scheduled for Thursday, February 3 at 10 a.m. with Cummer Curator Holly Keris.  For more information or to RSVP, please contact Amy Chamberlin at (904) 899-6034.

A Genius for Place is organized by Library of American Landscape History, Amherst, Massachusetts.  The exhibitions are sponsored by: 50th Anniversary Host Committee; Adecco Group North America; Agility Press; Bank of America; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc.; Carl S. Swisher Foundation, Inc.; City of Jacksonville; Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Inc.; Education Partners for the 50th; Elkins Constructors, Inc.; Grune Family Foundation; jacksonville.com; Merrill Lynch; Shepherd Agency; State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Studio Orange Design; The Florida Times-Union; U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management and WJCT Public Broadcasting.  

The Cummer will continue to celebrate its founders and milestones throughout 2011 and invites the community to celebrate with them.  For more information about the exhibitions mentioned, or to see a complete list of programs, events and classes, please visit The Cummer’s website, www.cummer50.org or call (904) 356-6857. 

Special programs and events for visitors throughout the exhibitions include:

 

50th Anniversary Community Celebration

Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 4 to 9 p.m.

Join the celebration of 50 years of art and community with museum-wide art making activities, scavenger hunts, tours, demonstrating artists and live music. Experience the newly renovated Tudor Room and view The Cummer Legacy, the first ever exhibition that displays in one gallery the works of art that comprise the original bequest that formed the core of The Cummer Collection. Reception for Community Garden Photography Show participants.

 

Free Admission

FREE Tuesdays sponsored by THE PLAYERS.

 

Photographic Image Transfers

Saturday, February 5, 2011, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Using the large-scale photographs for A Genius for Place as inspiration, noted photographer Anna Tomczak conducts this technique class on transferring imagery to surfaces such as paper, cloth and wood. Encaustic techniques will also be demonstrated. Lunch and some materials are provided.

 

Members $75, Non-members $85.

For more information or to register, please call (904) 355-0630.

 

Art for Two: My Digital Garden

Saturday, March 12, 2011, 10:30 a.m. to noon

Students ages 3 to 5 will learn about photography in The Cummer Gardens. Bring a digital camera and learn how to choose and frame your shots. No experience necessary, pre-registration recommended.

 

Members $10 and Non-Members $15

For more information or to register, please call (904) 355-0630. 

 

Art Adventures: My Digital Garden

Saturday, March 19, 2011, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Students ages 6 to 12 will learn about photography in The Cummer Gardens. Bring a digital camera and learn how to choose and frame your shots. No experience necessary, pre-registration is recommended.

 

Members $10 and Non-Members $15

For more information or to register, please call (904) 355-0630.

 

Art Adventures: Shades of Grey  

Saturday, April 16, 2011, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Students ages 6 to 12 will examine the photographs in A Genius for Place and create a paper collage that mimics a black and white photograph. No experience necessary, pre-registration recommended.  

 

Members $10 and Non-members $15

For more information or to register, please call (904) 355-0630.

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