The Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden
Winter Park, Florida’s Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden is one of the most elegant and respected venues for the art in the American southeast. It is home to impressive collections of all kinds and beautiful, peaceful grounds. The museum is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Albin Polasek (1879-1965) is widely considered one of the most important American sculptors most of the 20th century. Celebrated in his own lifetime, Polasek strove to show the beauty of "movement," the flow of one mass into another. Polasek's ability to capture the spirit of his subject was a major influence on a generation of sculptors like Richmond Barthe and Ruth Sherwood. Upon his death in 1965, Polasek was buried alongside first wife Ruth Sherwood in Winter Park's Palms Cemetery, where the 12th Station of the Cross (1939) is his monument. Albin Polasek was granted posthumously the honor of Great Floridian and inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004.
Born in 1879 in what is now the Czech Republic, Polasek apprenticed as a wood carver in Vienna before emigrating to the United States at the age of 22 and eventually became an American citizen. Polasek began his formal art training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He produced Man Carving His Own Destiny (1907) and Eternal Moment (1909), two of his earliest well-known sculptures.
In 1961, the Albin Polasek Foundation was founded by Polasek and his wife. Polasek had a deep appreciation for an uncomplicated aesthetic, and as a result the gardens are quiet and subdued, utilizing gardening art in classic form. The Foundation has added to the culture of Winter Park and Central Florida by donating sculptures like Forest Idyl and Emily Fountain to the City of Winter Park, Florida and loaning Man Carving His Own Destiny to the Winter Park Public Library long term. The Museum also provides art scholarships to the University of Central Florida, Rollins College and Crealde School of Art.
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