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Pierre Henri Matisse:  Stories of Creativity
to Nov 24

Pierre Henri Matisse: Stories of Creativity

Pierre Henri Matisse,  Circle of Love  (detail), 2012, Cut paper, Courtesy of the artist.

Pierre Henri Matisse, Circle of Love (detail), 2012, Cut paper, Courtesy of the artist.

Like his renowned grandfather Henri before him, Pierre Henri Matisse made art — and creativity — his life’s passion. The French-born Pierre moved to Florida in the 1960s, and, before his passing in July at 91 years old, he was excited to bring his adventurous and innovative work to the Polk Museum for the first time. Now, we honor him with an even more timely retrospective exhibition. Ever the experimental artist, Pierre never settled on one style alone, although his unique voice and whimsical nature shine forth in each and every piece he created. Especially in his use of paper cuts as a medium of choice, visitors will see how Pierre and his art were inspired deeply by his grandfather and his legacy, and this exhibition puts a spotlight on the artist’s narrative works and series. One half of a two-site set of Pierre Henri Matisse exhibitions, this original Polk Museum show coincides with an exhibition of the artist’s work in wide-ranging media at the nearby Melvin and Burks Galleries on the Florida Southern College campus. Get ready to discover the joy-filled freedom and love that was Pierre Henri Matisse this Fall.

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to Jan 26

Spirits: Ritual and Ceremonial African and Oceanic Art from the Dr. Alan and Linda Rich Collection

Mask,  Artist Unknown

Mask, Artist Unknown

Over the course of four decades, Dr. Alan and Linda Rich have displayed a passion for helping others, traveling the world and bringing medical care to those in need. With his profession as an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon and hers as an occupational therapist trained to help Alan in clinics and in surgeries, the Riches worked together to transform the lives of many in need of critical eye care. While working in clinics in Papua New Guinea and throughout Africa, the Riches also immersed themselves in the diverse artistic cultures of the countries they visited.  Along the way, they acquired a collection of ritual and ceremonial objects that fill their home today.  In this Polk Museum original exhibition, these artifacts, most of which speak to the close spiritual communion between humans and animals, will be displayed publicly for the first time.

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Ela's Forest
to Feb 23

Ela's Forest

Photograph by Laurel Friedman, Arrangement by Ela Deniz

Photograph by Laurel Friedman, Arrangement by Ela Deniz

Ela’s Forest is a real forest of trees planted in locations around the world. It bears the name of a little girl who loved nature and whose short, beautiful life was radiant. The forest continues to grow as her community plants more trees to honor her memory and keep her light bright. As a member of that community, the Polk Museum of Art adds to Ela’s Forest through this exhibition featuring works by artists close to Ela and her family. It is meant to be an expression of love, support, and comfort to the family as well as a poignant reminder of the importance and power of community. 

— Claire Orologas, Executive Director Emerita and curator of Ela’s Forest

A map of trees and other dedications to Ela can be found here:

Participating Artists

Mike Barickman, Lakeland, FL  |  James Bassham, Lakeland, FL  |  Mary Bassham, Lakeland, FL | Daniel Biferie, Daytona Beach, FL  |  Eric Breitenbach, Ormond Beach, FL  |  Steven Chayt, Winter Haven, FL | Laura Davis, Lakeland, FL  |  Beth Foushee, Lakeland, FL  |  Josh (Bump) Galletta, Lakeland, FL | Victoria Lowe, Lakeland, FL | Kevin Miller, Daytona Beach, FL | Csaba Osvath, Tampa, FL | Erika Schmidt, Pawlet, VT | Juliana Capel Velasco, Anchorage, AK

Ela’s Champions in Support of the Exhibition

Anonymous Donors | Irma Cole & Mark Scolnick | Dr. & Mrs. Craig S. Collins | Wes & Liz Craven | The Graces: Nancye Black, Elizabeth Hults, Alice Koehler, Trinity Laurino, Erica Lupercio, Crystal Norman, Jennifer Sabin, Cherish Welch | Ileana Kniss | The Maguires of Lakeland | Jim Malless & Karen Seggerman | April & Matt Mucci | Rita & Don Selvage | Sandra & Sam Sheets | Michael & Lorrie Walker

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A Brush with HerStory: The Paintings of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso
to Apr 12

A Brush with HerStory: The Paintings of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso

Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso is a premier portrait artist whose art historical knowledge is surpassed only by the skill of her brushwork. This exhibition features Dellosso’s tribute paintings to great but often-overlooked female masters of the past.  Looking at women artists from the Renaissance through the modern era, these exquisite academically-rendered paintings are based on in-depth study of artists including Genevieve Estelle Jones, Angelica Kauffman, Sofonisba Anguissola, Remedios Varo, and Sophie Geengembre Anderson. Sadly, these masters have never become mainstream names in the history of art, but they and their stories resonate deeply with Dellosso, who reaffirms their rightful places in art history through her exquisite old master-style paintings.


Gabriella G. Dellosso,  Varo’s Moon (Self-Portrait),  2014

Gabriella G. Dellosso, Varo’s Moon (Self-Portrait), 2014

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Music & Dance in Painting of the Dutch Golden Age
to May 31

Music & Dance in Painting of the Dutch Golden Age

Woman Playing a Viola,  Joost Van Geel

Woman Playing a Viola, Joost Van Geel

The 17th century was a period of great wealth and cultural achievement for the Dutch people. In what was then already called a Golden Age, the Netherlands was a world power whose military fleet was growing and where trade, science, and the arts flourished as never before. Of particular note, the pleasures of music and dancing were a fundamental part of life in both the Dutch Republic and the Southern Netherlands, as reflected in the strikingly high number of Dutch and Flemish paintings that include dancing figures, groups of musicians, and compositions of musical instruments.

This exhibition, custom-curated for the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College by the Hoogsteder Museum Foundation of The Netherlands, showcases 27 Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 17th century, selected and organized around the unifying visual theme of music and dance. All the Masterworks in the exhibition come to the Museum from private European Collections and have not been seen by the wide public before. Visitors will thus have the rare opportunity to see for themselves how brilliantly the Old Masters were able to capture the spirit of the Golden Age in their paintings, revealing in vivid color the insatiable Dutch appetite for singing songs, forming ensembles, and moving to melodies.

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