The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is the reward of the civic, social, and business activities of the Cummer family. The Cummers came from a long line of lumber dealers. They started in Canada before expanding their business to Michigan, Virginia, and Florida.
Wellington Willson Cummer (1846-1909) went on to found the Cummer Lumber Company in 1896. After the death of Wellington, Arthur Cummer and Waldo Cummer, along with his son-in-law, John L. Roe, all of them had ranks in the family business inherited the company.
Nina May Holden (1875-1958) a young lady from Michigan City, Indiana married Arthur in 1897.The couple decided to move to Jacksonville, home was built with Florida. At that time Jacksonville, Florid was the center of the family’s booming lumber business.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens was constructed on the property that was the home site of Arthur and Nina Cummer. By the 1890s, the family business had spread from Michigan to Virginia and to Florida. Their home was to be built in Florida. At that time as Jacksonville, Florida became the hub of the family’s booming lumber business.
Arthur and Nina Cummer built the English Tudor style of Home in 1902. As Arthur was busy in the family Timber business, Nina spent her time on planning the garden surrounding the house).
The Cummer gardens are presented and preserved as a work of art till date. The English garden was built first. It went through three phases before completion in 1930 Ossian Cole Simonds (1855-1931), a landscape architect who began work on the English Garden one year after the completion of Cummer’s house. The Cummers also took consultancy from two firms at that time. One was Thomas “Meehan and Sons” .It was a Philadelphia based firm that designed the formal gardens. Another firm Olmsted was involved with the later phases of land improvement. The work of these two firms gave Nation wise recognitions to the Cummer gardens (The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens tour packet 1).
The Cummer English garden still has the original plantations. English gardens are known for their symmetric and geometric designs. Glamorous plantations and flowers are beautifully arranged. The Cummer English garden had the class of its own. It was a generous aesthetics of English horticulture.
The Cummer Gardens represent some of the leading names in landscape designs such as Ellen Biddle Shipman (1869-1950) and Ossian Cole Simonds (1855-1931). The Gardens have brick pathways, sparkling pools, springs, arbors and historic ornamental statues. The Gardens were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.
The Italian garden was created in 1931 following the tour of Mr. and Mrs. Cummer took to a tour Italy in 1930. The Cummers visited many villas and gardens near Florence, Italy such as the Villa Gamberaia Gardens that gave them inspirations to have similar Italian style gardens. Mr. Cummers decided to acquire a set of eleven marble pieces to be placed in their new garden. These three gardens were extremely exquisite and are still known for their great elegance today. After returning from her visit from Italy, Mr. Cummer hired Ellen Biddle Shipman to design the new garden (Gardens: Plants and Paintbrushes 5).
The ancient oak tree as observed from the upper level of the Cummer Gardens. The Cummer Oak has a limb is sprouted over 150 feet. It is believed to be around 175-200 years old. The gallery nearest to the oak tree was built on supports to safeguard the tree's roots. Masses of equipment are used to protect and preserve the tree. It is the most noticeable botanical element in the garden. When the Cummers started to setting their property on the land, it was a heavily wooded area covered in oak trees. Some of these trees were later removed for the construction of the new museum, but The Cummer oak survives. By the mid-20s, the oak was 55 inches in diameter and later grew to have a width of over 100 inches and a height of approximately 75 feet with a branch span of over 185 feet (Gardens: Plants and Paintbrushes, 7).
The Cummer home was demolished in 1960 due to termites (The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens tour packet 1, 2). The year after that the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens was built and welcomed the public. Today the Cummer museum has American and European paintings treasures. It is surrounded with three beautiful flower gardens. The museum is located along the river bed of St. Johns. This museum is considered to be one of the greatest historical and cultural heritage of Jacksonville.
Over some period, the Museum has also acquired the two contiguous properties, this allowed to hold most of the original Cummer compound. Today Cummer museum is well maintained as originally designed by the best landscape architects of their time. The Cummer gardens have also the pride of being preserved until now, as it was in the past when it was created.
The museum started with a few paintings. Now it has a collection of thousands of pieces of original art works. Nina’s original Italian and English gardens are still maintained very well. These gardens were partially destroyed in the 1960s, when both Arthur & Nina’s house was demolished to make way for the Cummer Museum of art and Gardens.
For the past half century, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has dedicated itself for the lovers of art. A lasting collection of nearly 5,000 objects related with art. The Cummer museum attracts over more than 130,000 annually. It is truly a unique experience for many visitors. Cummer museum also presently run a nationally recognized education program for adults and children of all abilities (The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Acquires Gamin: A Sculpture by Augusta Savage 3).
One of the most recent of Cummer Museum of art and Gardens is acquisition of a historical masterpiece called “Gamin”. It was a bust of a young boy. A sculptor named Auguta Savage created this bust with painted plaster (The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Acquires Gamin: A Sculpture by Augusta Savage 1). Gamin became extremely popular among the art community. The Cummer museum of art and Gardens purchased it that became on permanent display in the Helen Murchison and Edward W. Lane, Jr. Gallery. (The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Acquires Gamin: A Sculpture by Augusta Savage 1).
The title Gamin is a French word; it translates to “street urchin”. Gamin was previously kept in Gamin bears a deep psychologically intensive mournfulness. Another of her masterpiece work was already in the permanent collection at the Cummer museum of art and gardens, It is known as “The Diving Boy”. This sculpture was placed in the Italian Garden of the Cummer museum for art and gardens. Nina Cummer placed the sculpture at a the rightful placed that is at the base of one of the pools at the museum. (The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Acquires Gamin: A Sculpture by Augusta Savage 1).
The artistic collection in the Cummer Museum of art and gardens housed the most superb collections. The artifacts that this museum hold dates back to 2100 B.C (Permanent Collection | The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens).
Around the 21st century and Cummer museum of art and gardens became also the home to the Wark Meissen Collection. This collection is one of three most distinct collections of porcelain on the globe. The educational system of the museum also provides hands-on art practice for all the visitors. The Cummer museum of art and gardens have two-and-one half acres of historic gardens along the St. Johns River as previously mentioned in detail. The unique blend of art, gardens and educational experience is an inspiration to thousands of art lovers. The museum boasts art imagination and excitement in peoples of all ages making The Cummer the premier cultural institution in the Southeast Region of Jacksonville, Florida.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens tour packet. 2014. 1, E-book.
ART CONNECTION vocabulary. 2014. E-book.
Gardens: Plants and Paintbrushes. Art Connection, 2014. E-book.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Acquires Gamin: A Sculpture by Augusta Savage. 2013. 3, E-book.
Unknown. "Permanent Collection | The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens." Cummer.org, 2014. Web. 19 Mar 2014. <http://www.cummer.org/art/permanent-collection>.