Imagining Florida: History and Myth in the Sunshine State

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Wolcott photograph

Marion Post Wolcott, Winter Visitors from Nearby Trailer Park, Picnicking Beside Car on Beach, Near Sarasota, Florida, 1941, Gelatin silver print. Acquired 2018. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Isadore and Kelly Friedman Collection Fund.

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The most comprehensive and all-embracing Florida-themed show of its kind, Imagining Florida: History and Myth in the Sunshine State, presented a remarkable assemblage of 200+ works of art celebrating how the Sunshine State has inspired artists across three centuries. This stunning exhibition was a major anthology of art made in and inspired by Florida and its people, places, flora, and fauna.  The Boca Raton Museum of Art brought together America’s leading masters and some of the world’s most renowned painters who visited Florida and were spellbound by the exotic beauty surrounding them.

Visitors were transported through Florida’s history via the paintings, photographs, drawings, and material culture from the 18th-to the mid-20th century, from naturalists to modernists.  From natural landscapes to frontier outposts to burgeoning towns, the scenes featured in Imagining Florida portrayed many different aspects of the state: its deep-rooted Seminole and Miccosukee heritage, its historic African-American communities, and its identity as a tourist destination. 

Three years in the making, the exhibition was guest-curated by Dr. Jennifer Hardin and Mr. Gary Monroe.  Many of their selections have rarely been seen and are from some of the leading museums and collections throughout the United States. 

Artists and photographers include:

  • Doris Lee 
  • Milton Avery 
  • Purvis Young 
  • Bunny Yeager 
  • Winslow Homer 
  • Laura Woodward
  • Garry Winogrand 
  • John Singer Sargent 
  • Louis Comfort Tiffany 
  • George de Forest Brush
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson 
  • Martin Johnson Heade 
  • John James Audubon 
  • Frederic Remington 
  • Frederick Frieseke
  • William Bartram 
  • Thomas Moran 
  • Sally Michel 
  • Robert Frank 
  • George Catlin 

Imagining Florida was accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalog.

In conjunction with Imagining Florida, the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum presented Imagining Boca Raton, an exhibition that exhibited paintings, posters, and other Boca Raton illustrations from the museum’s collections. Visitors could enjoy landmarks past and present as envisioned by local artists. The exhibition ran from November 13, 2018, through March 24, 2019. 

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Installation Images

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Photo By

Jacek Gancarz

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Photo By

Jacek Gancarz

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Photo By

Jacek Gancarz

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Photo By

Jacek Gancarz

Recent News

Sep 05, 2018 - Press Release
The most comprehensive and all-embracing Florida themed show of its kind, Imagining Florida:…
Jul 01, 2018 - In the News
MIAMI — Winslow Homer loved fishing for tarpon in the Florida Keys and along the Gulf Coast. John…

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