Rollins Museum of Art is preparing to host an exhibit of works from one of the world’s most respected art collections. “Beyond the Medici: The Haukohl Family Collection” runs Sept. 9 through Jan. 7 and features 32 pieces belonging to the Haukohl family, owners of the largest private collection of Florentine Baroque art outside of Italy.
“We don’t host this type of exhibit in Orlando very often,” said Rollins Museum Director Ena Heller. “We have had, in the last few years, more exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.”
The Baroque style is characterized by detailed subject matter, deep colors, and exaggerated motion. The Haukohl family collection was built over 35 years by Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl, President of Houston-based, multinational family investment firm The Vero Group, and Chairman of The Haukohl Family Philanthropies. “Beyond the Medici” represents a small portion of the family’s entire collection of paintings, sculptures and textile pieces created between the 16th and 18th centuries. The presentation reflects the period as paintings are displayed in frames that are either antiques or modern replicas of 17th century-style frames.
“I am humbled to hail from a collecting family,” Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl told the32789. “We were always encouraged to appreciate and live with great art. I have always been drawn to Florence and the Baroque art of the 17th century.”
Rollins Museum will be the first U.S. stop after a long European tour and the first showing at an academic museum. According to Heller, the opportunity was the result of a conversation with Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl. The pair first met six years ago, when Haukohl asked to view one of the 17th century paintings in the Rollins permanent collection.
“We started chatting – I think we connected because I specialized in the Italian renaissance in my doctoral studies – and we kept in touch,” she said. “When the European tour was nearing its end, we started talking about the idea of showing (the exhibit) in academic art museums – that was very appealing to him because he’s very interested in education – and I suggested we show it here.”
“My personal goal has always been to share experiences, knowledge, and engage new audiences,” said Haukohl. “Colleges and universities are the perfect venues to accomplish just that.”
After the Rollins Museum, the exhibit will travel to Ball State University and the University of Pennsylvania.
“Beyond the Medici” comes as Rollins is preparing to begin construction on a new art museum in downtown Winter Park. In addition to the accessible location, the facility will provide more space for storage and exhibition. Heller looks forward to the ability to show more of the permanent collection, which includes several European Old Masters. She sees “Beyond the Medici” as a way of re-introducing the style and appreciates the focus on Florentine artists.
“It’s a really exceptional collection because it brings together so many of the important artists who were working in Florence during that period,” she said. “You can see different styles and a variety of subject matter – religious, irreverent, emotional – and even though the artists are not as well-known as others of the Renaissance period, that doesn’t mean they are any less interesting.”
Admission to Rollins Museum of Art is free. The exhibit is made possible through the Ira Koger Exhibition Fund, the Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs program, the State of Florida Division of Arts and Culture, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. For more information, see the Rollins Museum of Art exhibit page.