Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art
Florida Themed Collection in Daytona Beach
By: Susan Cohn - Jul 10, 2015
FLORIDA HISTORY THROUGH PAINTERS’ EYES: THE CICI AND HYATT BROWN MUSEUM OF ART IN DAYTONA BEACH.
Florida remembered. Holding the most extensive collection of Florida art in the world, the newly opened (February 2015) Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art in Daytona Beach features a collection of 2,600 Florida themed oil and watercolor paintings, some dating back to the early 1800s, which recount the state’s cultural, geographic and natural history. A large gallery space, including a mezzanine, showcases the collection’s signature pieces, as varied as John James Audubon’s Purple Heron, 1835, a hand-colored 25 ½” x 37 ½” etching resulting from one of Audubon’s several trips to Florida; N.C. Wyeth’s “Dance of the Whooping Crane,” 1940, one of the paintings Wyeth completed to illustrate Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ Florida-based novel The Yearling; and Milton Avery’s Brahma Bull and Palms, oil on canvas, 1952.
Director Andrew Sandall said, "The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art is a uniquely Florida building housing an unprecedented collection of Florida art. Artists from all over the world came to Florida and found its weather, landscapes, animals, people and communities to be compelling subjects for their work and took the paintings and drawings they created home to sell to an equally enthralled audience. There are two pieces in the collection that I always make a special mention of when I give tours of the Museum. Both are my favorites for very different reasons. I always enjoy looking at "Blind Man, Eatonville", by Jules André Smith, not just for its style, but because he shows us a resident of a very important Central Florida community; that of Eatonville, one of the first self-governing all African American towns in the United States. Whenever I walk past "Houses and Architecture of St. Augustine", by Anthony M. Vedovelli, I think back to seeing that painting hanging in the Browns’ house where we had so many of our early planning meetings as we began the project. To see it displayed in the Museum barely two years later makes me feel very proud of what we have achieved.”
A BUILDING FOR HURRICANE COUNTRY.
RLF Architects of Orlando and Bomar Construction, Inc. of Ormond Beach kept the look of the museum natural to Florida, while building it to withstand the extreme weather conditions possible in Central Florida. Architect Tom DeSimone, who served as RLF’s Project Architect for the museum, said, “The Browns’ art collection was absolutely the inspiration for the design of the building; utilizing covered porches with ceiling fans and gabled metal roofs to recall the simple, yet elegant architecture of early Florida, while balancing this with a modern sensibility, safety, and sustainability for the art collection itself. The building also has state of the art lighting controls to maintain optimal lighting levels (footcandles) for viewing while preserving the art from damage, so this unique collection will continue to serve to educate our community about Florida’s history for future generations.” In the event of a hurricane or other sustained loss of power, the museum has been designed to remain operational for several days, powered by its own dedicated generator, and in case of a complete power outage artwork can be transferred for storage inside the museum to prevent damage from changes in humidity or temperature.
A VISUAL VISIT TO FLORIDA’S PAST: THE COLLECTORS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS.
Commenting on their collection, the Browns said, “It is a thrill for us to be able to share what we have developed with others who will make their own bonds to these works. We know that the paintings are a visual treat, but for many who have visited or lived in the State, the subjects will renew wonderful associations with the places depicted. Additionally, since many of the images presented in the Collection are 19th century paintings of places and things that no longer exist – viewing and contemplating them is a visual visit to Florida’s historical and colorful past.”
The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art is located at 352 S. Nova Road, Daytona Beach, FL 32114. The museum is set within native grasses, magnolias, oaks and cypress trees which complement heritage trees that were preserved throughout the construction process and incorporated into the site's design. More information about the museum may be found at www.moas.org/ciciandhyattbrownmuseum.html.
Two great talkers will not travel far together. Spanish Proverb.
Susan Cohn is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association, Bay Area Travel Writers, and the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. More of her stories may be found at ifwtwa.org/author/susan-cohn.