Saturday, January 7, 2017

Albin Polasek Sculpture Gardens

January 2017 - Orlando FL

I covered some of our visit to the Albin Polasek Sculpture Gardens in an inSPIREd Sunday post which showed his religious pieces of art.

To recap:
Internationally known Czech-American sculptor Albin Polasek's story is one of perseverance, hard work and the pursuit of the American Dream. He arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant, led the sculpture department at the Art Institute of Chicago, and continued to create artwork with one hand, from his wheelchair, after a paralyzing stroke.

Walking up to the museum entrance we see these sculptures.

Using as his inspiration the parable of Jesus about the sower – “a sower went forth to sow” – Polasek’s interpretation shows a man scattering the seed of good throughout the world. Sower won an Honorable Mention in the spring 1913 Paris Salon.

“…all at once the idea took concrete form before his mind’s eye: Man, blindly hewing his way out of darkness, carving his own destiny! (Polasek) could hardly wait to get home to start his composition. Man, chiseling himself, struggling to hack out his own character, carving his future by the effort of his will – it was part of his life, just what he himself had done, and into this composition he threw his whole soul, expressing himself more fully than he had ever done before.” Sherwood, Ruth. Carving His Own Destiny. Chicago: Ralph Fletcher Sey­mour, 1954, p. 178.

The setting is a three-acre garden oasis on Lake Osceola. The lush gardens provide a colorful backdrop for 50 outdoor sculptures.

We are immediately struck by this elegant sculpture in the courtyard.

Polasek created a fountain as a wedding gift for his second wife in 1961. ''Emily'' depicts a kneeling woman playing a harp. The harp strings are formed by tiny streams of water that fall into the reflecting pool beneath her feet.

We enter and pay our admission of $5. There is a temporary exhibit on display.

Frantz Zephirin is one of the leading contemporary painters working in Haiti today. A self-taught artist born in Cap Haitien in 1968, Zephirin has variously been described as a visionary, a surrealist, a visual satirist and an “historic animalist”. His work has been featured in museums and galleries around the world.

We both love the colour and vibrancy of his work.

Finally we are in the gardens.

Wasserman/King Under The Sea – Concrete 1962

Created as the female companion to Man Carving His Own Destiny, Polasek saw woman, at last breaking through the clouds of ignorance and superstition into the full light of freedom. Art critic Dorothy Grafly (daughter of Polasek’s mentor, Charles Grafly) wrote the following observation in the winter of 1925 after Unfettered was awarded a top prize at the Philadelphia Annual Exhibition:"

The epitome of Polasek’s allegorical works, this original memorial on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL, was erected in honor of Theodore Thomas, founder of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It is fully unrepresentative of the majesty and sweep of a symphony.
A challenging commission, Polasek created several models of the work. Of his final version Polasek stated, “… (the sculpture is) dignified, yet simple, assertive, but not too bold; a feminine figure, yes, yet not too feminine.”

The Slavonic god Svan­tovit evokes holiness and wisdom. His four heads facing north, south, east and west contain all of the knowledge that he has amassed to rule the four corners of the earth. Svan­tovit sits astride his horse, carrying a sword for justice and a horn through which he utters prophesies.


  1. ...there sure is a lot to see!

  2. That harp fountain is my favourite. Wow!

  3. Lots of interesting statues in the sculpture garden. I particularly like the work "Man Carving His Own Destiny".

  4. Ah thank you for the extra link to your post about Polasek - what a fruitful life in art! Really enjoy art whenever I get the opportunity! Impossible to choose a favorite;) Many many thanks for sharing these excursions in art with ALL SEASONS! Have a beautiful week, Jackie!

  5. The lady with the harp is my favourite sculpture, Jackie. Beautiful grounds! Many thanks for the link :)

  6. It certainly looks like an interesting place!

  7. I've lived in Florida many years but have never visited this museum. I must go and see the sculptures. Thanks for sharing.

  8. That's one fabulous museum. I think my favorite piece os the Jazz piece, at least that's what it looks like to me. This is my kind of day, super fun.

    Lisa @ Life Thru the Lens

  9. Didn't know that was there in orlando. Will have to check it out in april when we go! have a great week and thanks for sharing your adventures.

  10. Very interesting style for an artist. - Margy

  11. What astonishing sculpture - such powerful pieces. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping and sharing

  12. Nice to learn about this sculptor. I like to read inspiring stories like his. That harp fountain is gorgeous! That is a genius idea. #TPThursday

  13. Hi Jackie, your photos are beautiful and my favourite sculpture has to be of Emily. I love the use of water as the harp strings.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


  14. What an amazing place. Love the sculptures and artwork, especially the sculpture with water flowing down the harp strings.

  15. Inspiring stories and artwork. The lady and the harp is particularly impressive #citytripping

  16. Excellent, I really enjoy sculpture parks.

  17. That harp fountain by Polasek is wonderful!

  18. I enjoyed browsing through all of the sculptures and paintings. The gardens really highlight Polasek's works. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

  19. Gorgeous place, amazing sculptures!
    Thanks for likinking up at the Travel Tuesday meme.


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