The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

Albin Polasek, b 1879- d 1965
633 Osceola Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 - view on Google Maps
407-647-6294
This Mediterranean-style residence and studio of internationally known Czech-American sculptor, Albin Polasek, features classical busts, decorative works, and grand sculptures displayed in several rooms and in the sculpture gardens. The historic home, chapel, gardens, and temporary exhibition gallery are open to the public. Our story, although it is Albin Polasek’s story, resonates with every visitor on an intimate level. It is one of perseverance, determination, passion and the American Dream. Our mission is to enrich lives by sharing our story, our setting and our art.

ABOUT

Albin Polasek, a renowned 20th-century Czech-American sculptor, chose Winter Park, Florida, as his retirement home and created this beautiful paradise on the shore of Lake Osceola. Celebrated during his lifetime by both the public and his peers, his work can be seen not only in Winter Park but throughout the world. 



Born in Frenstat, Moravia (now the Czech Republic), Polasek worked as a wood carver in Vienna before immigrating to the United States at the age of 22. He continued his career in altar-carving factories, first in Dubuque, Iowa, and then in La Crosse, Wisconsin, participating in the creation of many church interiors in the Midwest. He then studied sculpture at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and won the Prix de Rome. He returned to the Midwest, where he was head of the Sculpture Department at the Art Institute of Chicago for 30 years, winning many honors as well as being elected to the National Academy of Design. 



After moving to Winter Park in 1950, Polasek suffered a stroke and was paralyzed on the left side of his body. Nevertheless, he married twice and continued to sculpt and paint. Many of his “post-stroke” period works can be seen here where they were created, including a monumental version of Man Carving His Own Destiny chiseled from limestone. This signature work was Polasek’s view of his own journey as a grateful immigrant who made the most of every opportunity America afforded him. His inspirational story lives on at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in the home that he designed and studio where he worked, both filled with Old World charm. The stunning home, with its tiled roofs and architectural sculpture, is set off by his magnificent works of art that are tucked all around the lush gardens. In addition to viewing all the classical figurative sculpture and whimsical mythological pieces onsite, visitors can tour the changing exhibition gallery, see Polasek’s personal chapel, and enjoy his courtyard where his “Emily” sculpture graces a fountain, playing her harp to welcome guests. 

Did you know...?

Our earliest work in the collection is Nativity, which Polasek carved when he was just 15 years old. He used his family cow and villagers from his hometown in Frenstat, Moravia as models for the figures. He also used natural dyes, such as berries and rust, as paints.

SPECIAL RESOURCES

The gallery and gardens are available to the public for event rentals. In late 2013, the Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens acquired one of the oldest homes in Winter Park, the Capen-Showalter House, and moved it to the Polasek grounds, saving it from demolition. The Capen House will be open to the public for the first time and will also be available for rentals in late 2014. The house will display the portraits of Capen relatives, all of which were sculpted by Albin Polasek.

WHAT TO DO HERE

  • Take a historic home, studio, and chapel tour.
  • Check out our most recent exhibition in the gallery.
  • Explore the sculpture gardens.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE ART HERE:

  • Woodrow Wilson Memorial, Prague.
  • Radigast and Saints Cyril and Methodius, on Mt. Radhost, near Frenstat, Czech Republic.
  • Primeval Struggle, Frenstat, now Czech Republic.
  • The Masaryk Memorial, Midway Plaisance, in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Spirit of Music, and The Theodore Thomas Memorial, both located in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Pilgrim Mother at the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago.
  • Many versions of Man Carving His Own Destiny in several locations, including the Union League Club in Chicago, at Beloit College in Wisconsin, and Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Francis D. Millet, Charles Follen McKim and J. P. Morgan, American Academy in Rome.
  • William Merritt Chase, Bobst Library, New York University, New York City.
  • Frank Logan, Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit University, Wisconsin.
  • St. Michael’s Church in Old Town, Chicago.
  • St. Michael the Archangel, St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wisconsin.