Support for the arts has become an important contributor to the rapid growth of this community. Ocala’s Appleton Museum of Art, with its outstanding permanent collections, stands as a special monument to that support.
It was built on forty four forested acres off East Silver Springs Boulevard, with construction commencing in 1984. Two years later philanthropist Arthur Appleton gifted the museum to the City of Ocala. However, it officially opened to the public in 1987. Mr. Appleton designed the museum to house the impressive art collection he had accumulated. Additionally, the Museum occupies over 82,000 square feet and is clad in Italian travertine marble. The floors are of Capoa Bonito granite imported from Bolivia. Anatgon Paleni of Montreal, Canada installed the stone work, while Pilkington Glass of England provided the glass. One hundred and twenty seven other contractors constructed various aspects of this edifice to the arts.
The seven permanent collections of Ocala’s Appleton Museum of Art:
- The European Collection – Included are paintings and sculptures by 17th, 18th and 19th century masters. Featured are works by Dutch and Italian Masters, The French Barbizon and Romantic schools and exhibits of regal French furniture and blown glass.
- The American Collection – This collection boasts paintings by American 18th and 19th century masters and decorative arts by printmakers Audubon and Whistler and glass blowers Tiffany and Steuben.
- The Contemporary Collection – Featured are Post World War II works by masters from around the globe. Alexander Calder, Karel Appel, Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist are among those whose works are on display.
- The Asian Collection – This selection features sculptures and textiles from China, India, Japan, Burma, Tibet, and Thailand. However, the collection is not limited to these Asian countries. There are also select pieces from several others.
- The African Collection – These wood carvings are from the private collection of Victor David DuBois who acquired and authenticated many of the pieces in Africa himself. Since the pieces originate in West and Central Africa, this is indeed an extraordinary collection.
- The Islamic Collection – These ceramic pieces originate in 10th and 14th century Iran. Of course, they depict many different designs popular in those centuries.
- Pre-Columbian Collection – This collection has pieces dating as far back as 2000 BC. There are selections from many regions in Mexico, Central and South America . Of course, the truly unique and outstanding pieces representing various periods in Eastern and Western Mexico are particularly notable. An excellent collection of Mayan bowls from the pre-Columbian era are also on display.
A Brief History of Arthur Appleton
Arthur Appleton was born in Chicago in 1915. He was the son of Albert Appleton, founder of the Appleton Electric Company which began to served Chicago in 1903. Having graduated from Dartmouth with an MBA, Arthur managed the electric company from 1947 until its sale in 1982. He was also an avid thoroughbred breeder, an art collector and a philanthropist. Since he wanted a footprint in horse country, in the 1970’s he began accumulating land in Ocala. On the land he founded Bridlewood Farm, a thoroughbred breeding and training facility which has produced many stakes winners. Since Ocala was now his home, Arthur Appleton decide to build a permanent structure to house his priceless art collection here. In 1986, Mr. Appleton donated the newly built Appleton Museum of Art and the art collection it housed to the City of Ocala.
Don’t miss an opportunity to visit Ocala’s Appleton Museum of Art. It is one of the features that make Ocala really special. Bring the kids too. They will surely have fun in the museum’s interactive children’s center.
Make time to appreciate the arts. – Andy K