633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park 32789
Admission:Adults $5, seniors (60+) $4, students $3, under 12 free
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; closed during July and August
Location: From I-4 Exit 87, follow SR 426 East about 3 miles
The studio-home and gardens of the late Czech-American sculptor, Albin Polasek, have been turned into a loving memorial by his widow. The quietly luxurious home was designed by Polasek himself and constructed in 1950 overlooking Lake Osceola. Today it is on the Register of Historic Places and houses some 200 of his works. The paintings are originals while most of the sculptures are reproductions.
Polasek was a devout Roman Catholic and a self-taught woodcarver who, as a young immigrant, found work carving religious statues in the Midwest. Later, he received formal art training and eventually became a highly respected academic artist. The work on display here ranges from the mawkish to the quite impressive. He was a better sculptor than painter and some of his bronzes, like The Sower and Man Carving His Own Destiny, possess real power. The former is a classically inspired bronze, the latter depicts a muscular figure in the process of carving itself out of stone.
One of his most affecting pieces is The Victorious Christ, a larger than life sculpture of the crucified Christ gazing heavenward. The original hangs in a cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska. There are two reproductions here. One dominates his two-story studio but the real stunner is the bronze version in the back garden. Mounted on a large wooden cross and sited under a theatrically towering oak tree, facing the lake, it is a powerful work.
Nearby: Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.
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