Jacob Backer, Two Girls with a Bird's Nest, n.d., Panel, 73.5 cm x 60.5cm

Rembrandt's Academy: Old Master Paintings from Private Dutch Collections

Exhibition organized by the Hoogsteder Museum Foundation, The Netherlands

June 10 - September 24, 2017

Gallery II

Rembrandt van Rijn founded the most influential Academy that ever existed in the Dutch Republic (1581-1795), training dozens of painters to work in the “Rembrandtesque” manner. His characteristic style became famous throughout the whole of Europe. Rembrandt’s artistic personality was breath-taking, and it is not possible to imagine Dutch art without him.

After his move to Amsterdam, Rembrandt quickly became a leading painter of the day and attracted students from all over, everyone bewildered by his brilliance. Rembrandt formed his Academy wishing to use the help of his students to produce the large output of paintings and etchings required to make his name in the world.

Many of his students seem to have been so advanced that they were working as paid “mate” in the studio and actively collaborated on Rembrandt’s commissions, painting backgrounds, drapery and costumes. Rembrandt was also entitled to sell the paintings they produced in the Academy in the master’s signature style. Inexperienced pupils however, had to pay the annual tuition fee and spend their time drawing, grinding pigments and preparing panels and canvas.

This exhibition features the artworks of some of Rembrandt's students.



Exhibitions Partner:

Exhibition Sponsors:

Annual Exhibition Fund Donors:

Barney's Pumps, Inc.
Dorothy Chao Jenkins
CNP · Clark/Nikdel/Powell
Core Wealth Advisors, Inc.
Margaret M. Decker Foundation
Furr & Wegman Architects, PA
The Thelma C. Kells Endowment Fund
within the Give Well Community Foundation
The Mosaic Company Robert & Malena Puterbaugh
Dr. Alan & Linda Rich Fund
within the Give Well Community Foundation
Rodda Construction, Inc.
Share Foundation
Southern Homes
Southern Strategy Group
Kerry & Buffy Wilson

Robert Vickrey, Forbidden Fruit, 1995, Egg tempera on gesso on masonite, 36" x 48"

The Figure in American Art: Florida Southern College's New Art Museum Collection

Organized by the Harmon-Meek Gallery, Naples, Florida

June 10 - September 24, 2017

Gallery II

The first of many forthcoming exhibitions showcasing the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College’s latest acquisitions, The Figure in American Art offers but a mere introduction to the Museum’s newest permanent collection works. This inaugural exhibition of the alliance between the Polk Museum and Florida Southern highlights one of the principal collecting initiatives fostered by the partnership: to develop a collecting focus that specifically addresses the “figure” as a subject unto its own in American painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.

The human form - rendered realistically, abstractly, or even metaphorically - has been the central element that has connected art across time, and, as The Figure in American Art strives to illustrate, the theme presents an endless font for artistic and viewer consideration. Accordingly, this new collecting focus strives to elevate the Museum, making it and Lakeland, a go-to source for American art. This summer, visitors to The Figure in American Art will get a glimpse at a growing collection whose uniqueness celebrates not only the new alliance between the Polk Museum and Florida Southern College, but also the unique strengths of the community at large.

Alex Katz, Mae, 2005, Lithograph, Graphicstudio Subscription Purchase through the Kent Harrison Memorial Acquisition Fund, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2006.20 © Alex Katz

Embodied: Figurative Art from the Permanent Collection

April 29, 2017 - September 10, 2017

Perkins Gallery

Throughout human history, the artist has portrayed the human figure more often than any other subject. What is it about the human form -- face, hands, body -- that has intrigued the creative eye through the centuries and across cultures?

These images delight us, disturb us, and challenge us. We gaze into the determined focus of a weathered “survivor.”  We admire the graceful line of an iconic choreographer. We reflect on the watery silhouettes of an anonymous couple.

In this collection, we witness the dignity and fragility of the human spirit. Although diverse in style and subject matter, these works of art come together to touch the humanity in us all.  They demonstrate the power of the artist to convey our shared experiences in transporting our own “human figures” through this life. 

This exhibition features selections by the Museum's docents of figurative artworks from the  permanent collection. 

James Rosenquist, The Kabuki Blushes, 1986, Lithograph and monoprint, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 1989.1, Purchase with Kent Harrison Memorial Acquisition Fund © James Rosenquist


June 24, 2017 - September 30, 2017

Murray & Ledger Galleries

James Rosenquist (1933-2017) created expressive works from the imagery of popular culture for more than fifty years. He began exploring these images and helping to define Pop Art alongside artist such as Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. Rosenquist himself defined painting as "the ability to put layers of feeling on a picture plane and then have those feelings seep out as slowly as possible." His artworks create contradictory feelings of connection with the viewer by using relatively simple or familiar imagery, but combining them in such a way that they seem somehow mysterious. Viewing one of Rosenquist's creations becomes, therefore, a continuous movement from the details to the picture as a whole and then back.

Polk Museum of Art bestowed Mr. Rosenquist its Artist's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and is proud to count these six works by Rosenquist among its collection.

Roberto Estopiñán, Untitled (Fate), 1967, Ink and graphite on paper, Gift of Carmina Benguria in memory of the artist, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2017.2.7

Roberto Estopiñán, Untitled (Fate), 1967, Ink and graphite on paper, Gift of Carmina Benguria in memory of the artist, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 2017.2.7

Roberto Estopiñán

April 18 - August 27, 2017

Taxdal Gallery

Born in Cuba in 1921, sculptor, draftsman, and printmaker Roberto Estopiñán is a celebrated artist and considered a pioneer of modern sculpture in Latin American art.

During the 1960s, Estopiñán's work feautured haunting faces and strained forms filled with despair, conveying his preocccupation with, and compassion for, those who have experienced injustice. These artworks in many ways run counter to his later works that focus more on beauty and the exploration of form.

Perhaps the most prevalent subject in Estopiñán's work is the female torso. Beginning in the late 1970s, these abstracted torsos in his work are reminiscent of the elongated, often swollen forms of European sculptors, but include familiar textures of the artist's earlier work. These bone-like, somewhat surreal shapes not only capture the beauty of the torso , but also hint at Estopiñán's struggle to balance texture with the softness of the female form.

Art Out Loud: Artwork by Middle School Students

Saturday, May 27, 2017 – Sunday, August 27, 2017

Reception: August 26 at 11 a.m.

This exhibition highlights the artwork of Polk County School District middle school students.

The museum hosts several exhibitions per year in the George Jenkins Gallery that feature artwork by Polk County School District students. From each of these exhibitions, one piece is purchased by the Museum to be added to our Student Collection.

Sponsored by: MIDFLORIDA Credit Union

Continuing Exhibitions

Remojadas Culture, Seated Male Figure, 500-700 CE, Ceramic, Polk Museum of Art Permanent Collection 1983.1.6, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. David Taxdal.

Ancient Art of the Americas

David and Lucia Taxdal Pre-Columbian Gallery

Ancient Art of the Americas, a refocused installation of the Museum’s collection of Pre-Columbian artworks which was completed in December 2000, and updated with recent acquisitions in March 2003, features a comprehensive overview of artifacts from Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Peru. The gallery is divided into two themed rooms. Warriors, Priests, and Rituals presents effigies related to those three categories, including bound prisoners, warriors ready for battle, and priest figures. The second room is arranged geographically, with artifacts grouped according to the current name of the country in which they were found. This arrangement allows visitors to see how cultures that were geographically close influenced each other. This room also contains an archaeology display which explains how scientists uncover and interpret artifacts like those in the gallery.


Sculpture Court

Contemporary works by  by James Bassham, Jane Jaskevich, Fonchen Lord, Carol Brown and Michael Mick are featured in the Museum's permanent outdoor exhibition space.

Material World: A Global Family Portrait

Marks Gallery

The Material World: A Global Family Portrait exhibition is the result of American photojournalist Peter Menzel’s project to help viewers grasp a sense of cross-culture realities and to celebrate our common humanity. Sixteen of the world’s foremost photographers traveled around the world, visiting thirty different countries to live for a week with families that are statistically average for that nation. At the end of each visit, the photographer and subjects collaborated on the Big Picture, a remarkable portrait of the family outside of its home, surrounded by all of its possessions. This exhibition is an attempt to capture through photos and statistics, both the common humanity of the peoples inhabiting our Earth and the great differences in material goods and circumstances that make rich and poor societies.

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Marks Gallery

For the first time in history, more people are overfed than underfed. And while some people still have barely enough to eat, others overeat to the point of illness. To find out how mealtime is changing in real homes, authors Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio visited families around the world to observe and photograph what they eat during the course of one week. During their project, they sat down to eat with twenty-five families in twenty-one countries.

As Peter and Faith ate and talked with families, they learned firsthand about food consumption around the world and its corresponding causes and effects. The resulting family portraits, which are displayed in this exhibition, offer a glimpse into the cultural similarities and differences served on dinner plates around the globe.

This show joins Material World: A Global Family Portrait in the Marks Gallery to stimulate further thought and discussion about cultural commonalities and differences.