Twenty-four years ago, Vera Bluemner Kouba, the daughter of modern artist Oscar Bluemner, bequeathed more than 1,000 pieces of her dad’s art collection to Stetson University. Thanks to a generous gift by philanthropists Homer and Dolly Hand and the Volusia ECHO grant, the Hand Art Center was built in 2009 to display and house Bluemner’s artwork and other exhibits.
Modern artist Oscar Bluemner’s past exhibits are on display during the “Oscar Bluemner at Stetson: Exhibition History” exhibit at the Hand Art Center through Saturday, April 3.
The display will highlight the crucial role of the Kouba collection’s curators who have preserved Bluemner’s legacy. Kouba gifted her artwork, archival materials and ephemera to Stetson because she knew that the university would not only maintain and display the collection, but also would safeguard her father’s reputation.
The exhibit illustrates how Stetson, especially the first Bluemner curator Dr. Roberta Smith Favis, professor emerita of art at Stetson, honored Kouba’s wishes.
Oscar Bluemner exhibited at prominent exhibitions during his career, including the 1913 Armory Show and the 1916 Exhibition of Modern American Painters.
This year is the 15-year anniversary of the “Oscar Bluemner: A Passion for Color” exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
The exhibit, curated by Dr. Katya Kudryavtseva, assistant professor of art history at Stetson, includes display posters, catalogs and original artwork associated with Bluemner’s exhibitions at the Hand Art Center and other venues. The display will provide visitors with an opportunity to appreciate the visual vibrancy and diversity of the collection and help them gain an understanding of the importance of museum exhibitions in stewarding Bluemner’s artistic heritage.
Guests may be allowed on campus to view the “Oscar Bluemner at Stetson: Exhibition History” when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted at Stetson University. The Oscar Bluemner exhibit can be seen virtually on the Hand Art Center’s website at www.handartcenter.org.