Painting and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection
By Holly Keris
Two centuries of classic American paintings collected by local philanthropist Diane DeMell Jacobsen and now touring the country arrive at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens on June 9. “American Made: Painting and Sculpture from the DeMell Jacobsen Collection” features more than a hundred works of art. While long-time museum visitors will recognize some works from prior visits, this exhibition marks the first time a significant quantity of the collection’s portraits, landscapes, genre scenes, and sculptures have been installed together. In addition to the objects previously on loan to the Cummer Museum, the exhibition also features works that have also been on loan to several museums across the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Like museum founder Ninah Cummer, Jacobsen, now based in Ponte Vedra Beach, acquired art for her home. With the passing of their husbands, however, both women turned their attention to creating more substantial collections that would ultimately be shared with the public.
Jacobsen credits childhood visits to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art with her love of art. “When I was a little girl,” she says, “my mother would ask me and my two sisters what we wanted to do on a non-school day. Invariably, my little sister Lisette would say, ‘Let’s go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.’ We would spend the day looking at paintings at the Metropolitan. I loved the European Impressionist and Hudson River school paintings.”
“Tom had a naturally gifted eye,” says Jacobsen about collecting art with her husband. “We settled on American art to preserve it for future generations. American art is something in which we Americans can take great pride. It is part of our heritage. Not having any children, we wanted to share our enjoyment of the collection with an American museum. It has been the joy of our lives. It is our pleasure to share it with the Jacksonville community.”