Category Archives: 2021

Join Mennello Museum of American Art for a Virtual Lecture with Dr. Katherine Jentleson, Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art from the High Museum on July 22

Please join the Mennello Museum of American Art in welcoming Dr. Katherine Jentleson, Merrie and Dan Boone curator of folk and self-taught art from the High Museum of Art (High) in Atlanta, GA, for a virtual lecture highlighting the significant contributions of self-taught artists on the 20th Century American Modern Art World on Thursday, July 22 at 6 p.m. ET.

Purchase tickets here to garner intriguing insights from a foremost expert of 20th Century Folk Art and then delve deeper into discussion during the Q&A session that follows the virtual lecture with Dr. Jentleson. The virtual lecture is $10 for future museum members and free for current museum members.

In 2015, Dr. Jentleson, joined the High Museum of Art as the Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art. Prior to becoming a curator, Dr. Jentleson worked as an arts journalist in New York. Through her editorial assignments and experiences at galleries and museums, she discovered her passion for autodidactic artists and their historical legacy in the United States. She began her graduate studies in art history at Duke University in 2010, where she focused her research on how self-educated artists first “crashed the gates” of the mainstream art world after World War I. She published the study as a peer-reviewed monograph titled Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America (University of California Press, 2020) and adapted it into a 2021 exhibition at the High.

A multi-award-winning curator, Dr. Jentleson is the recipient of fellowships from Duke University, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Archives of American Art, and the Dedalus Foundation. She has contributed research and writing to exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the American Folk Art Museum, the Ackland Art Museum, the Nasher Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Prospect New Orleans. Since joining the High, she has overseen numerous exhibitions, including most recently Way Out There: The Art of Southern Backroads (2019) and Paa Joe: Gates of No Return (2020). Under her leadership, the museum’s collection has grown significantly since adding more than 500 objects, including significant acquisitions of work by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, the Gee’s Bend quilters, and Henry Church. Many of these debuted in the newly-expanded folk and self-taught art collection, which opened to the public as part of the museum’s 2018 reinstallation.

For more information about the virtual lecture with Dr. Jentleson, visit here.

The Mennello Museum of American Art and its exhibitions are generously supported by the City of Orlando and Friends of the Mennello Museum of American Art. Orange County Government provides additional funding through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program and United Arts of Central Florida. Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and Visit Orlando. The exhibition is funded in part by the generous donors to the Frank Holt Fund, Strengthen Orlando and the City of Orlando.

The PDF version of this release is available here.

American Artists in the Southwest & American Paintings from the Melanson Holt Collection

(January 22 – April 11, 2021)

American Artists in the Southwest and American Paintings and Drawings from the Melanson Holt Collection showcase masterful painters and printmakers, who lived and created primarily in Taos and Santa Fe throughout the 20th century, working in lithography, etching, aquatint, wood block, and screen print. In honor of Mennello Museum of American Art Founding Director Frank Holt, the Melanson Holt Collection gift made from 2017-2019, furthers the story of American art for new and returning visitors with views of the land and people of the Southwest. The collection highlights 32 artists, including Indigenous artists Harrison Begay and Pop Chalee, along with Gene Kloss, John Sloan, Kenneth Adams, Dole Reed, Clark Willard, Homer Boss, B. Brussell-Smith, E. Martin Hennings, and many more. These artists sought to reveal and document the awe-inspiring desert light, remote lands, and extraordinary way of life in the changing American Southwest through their inventive forms of printmaking and painting alike.


American Artists in the Southwest from the Melanson Holt Collection featuring prints by:

  • Kenneth Adams
  • Henry Balink
  • Gustave Bauman
  • Harrison Begay
  • O.E. Berninghaus
  • Oscar Florianus Bleumner
  • Homer Boss
  • B. Brussell-Smith
  • Pop Chalee
  • Willard Clark
  • Howard Cook
  • John Stuart Curry
  • Adolf Dehn
  • E. Martin Hennings
  • Rockwell Kent
  • Gene Kloss
  • Leon Loughridge
  • Peter Moran
  • Russell Natt
  • Herbert Pullinger
  • Dole Reed
  • Coy Avon Seward
  • Will Shuster
  • John Sloan

Modern American Paintings from the Melanson Holt Collection, Abstraction and Realism on view in the Marilyn Gallery featuring:

  • Emil Bisttram
  • Charles Burchfield
  • Arthur B. Davies
  • Henry Martin Gasser
  • Richard Haley Lever
  • Reginald Marsh
  • Jan Matulka
  • Alfred Maurer
  • Max Weber

The Grand Portraits of Mr. Eddy Mumma

(April 23 – August 1, 2021)

The Mennello Museum of American Art is proud to announce the exhibition opening of The Grand Portraits of Mr. Eddy Mumma. The exhibit is only the third solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work to date and is on view from April 23 – August 1, 2021. 

“The museum is excited to bring together 25 compelling paintings by one of Florida’s self-taught and truly outsider artists,” shared Mennello Museum Executive Director Shannon Fitzgerald. “The portraits reflect the people and personalities with whom he desired to surround himself. He was prolific in production and with a compulsion to immerse himself in his self-isolation suggests that his creative quest was deeply personal, cathartic, and absolutely necessary.”

The Grand Portraits of Mr. Eddy Mumma explores the self-taught artist’s lavish portraits from the Mennello Museum of American Art’s collection and other prominent Florida collections – including Josh Feldstein, The Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, and Dr. Lou Hill.

Mumma abandoned any notion of traditional art schooling after a teacher’s insult during his first lesson at the age of 60 in Gainesville, Florida. A homebound Mumma would take this slight in stride. Instead of giving up, he poured over art books, texts, and popular magazines given to him by friends and family. These beloved images intermingled with his imagination to develop the round-faced, wide-awake, geometric figures he is renowned for today. A proliferation of portraits originally hung from every inch of the artist’s modest home, immersing the artist in a gallery of his self-inspired works. These mysterious, smiling, and sometimes frenzied characters were his constant companions, always within sight, rarely shown, and never sold.

Feldstein’s eye for the cleverness and ingenuity of Mumma’s painting practice was instrumental in preserving the artist’s many works. At the time of Mumma’s passing in 1986, he had completed nearly 1,000 paintings – excitedly using the brightest paints on any surface within reach, painting both sides of doors, lamps, plywood, masonite, canvas, and glass. It was the foresight and graciousness of Feldstein to assist the artist’s daughter, Carroll Gunsaulies, in preserving and sharing her father’s work with the world that entered him into the celebrated canon of American Folk Art. Mumma is also featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum collections, the American Folk Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Fenimore Museum, the Kohler Foundation, and the American Visionary Art Museum among others. Serendipitously, an insult by a Gainesville art instructor and 18 years creating art in Gainesville ultimately led to Gainesville, Florida’s Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art highlighting Mumma’s collection.

“I am delighted to share The Grand Portraits of Mr. Eddy Mumma with our audiences this summer,” said Mennello Museum Curator of Art and Education Katherine Page. “While studying Mumma’s portraiture and paintings, one begins to understand his deep appreciation for historical painting and ethnographic photography. Renowned images inspired his work, from Van Gogh to Frans Hals and the pages of National Geographic. This admiration translated into recreating masterpieces in his own distinctive style, which was dedicated to the expression of form, color, and texture therein. “She continues, “The figures in Mumma’s later portraits carry unique and intimate yet recognizable emotions: some appear cheerful, focused, proud, sad, nervous, and even alienated. The effect is striking and pulls the viewer closer into the piece— face-to-face with the artist’s intuitive practice.”

“I am delighted to share The Grand Portraits of Mr. Eddy Mumma with our audiences this summer,” said Mennello Museum Curator of Art and Education Katherine Page. “While studying Mumma’s portraiture and paintings, one begins to understand his deep appreciation for historical painting and ethnographic photography. Renowned images inspired his work, from Van Gogh to Frans Hals and the pages of National Geographic. This admiration translated into recreating masterpieces in his own distinctive style, which was dedicated to the expression of form, color, and texture therein. “She continues, “The figures in Mumma’s later portraits carry unique and intimate yet recognizable emotions: some appear cheerful, focused, proud, sad, nervous, and even alienated. The effect is striking and pulls the viewer closer into the piece— face-to-face with the artist’s intuitive practice.”

The Mennello Museum of American Art and its exhibitions are generously supported by the City of Orlando and Friends of the Mennello Museum of American Art. Orange County Government provides additional funding through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program and United Arts of Central Florida. Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and Visit Orlando. The exhibition is funded in part by the generous donors to the Frank Holt Fund, Strengthen Orlando, City of Orlando.

Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e

(August 13 – November 7, 2021)

Examines historical perspectives on women and their depiction in art in Edo Period Japan (1615 – 1858). Made up entirely of woodblock prints created in the ukiyo-e style, this exhibition highlights female characters in literature, kabuki theatre, and poetry; the courtesans and geisha of the Yoshiwara district; and wives and mothers from different social classes performing the duties of their station, in order to gain some insight into the lives of women in pre-modern Japan.