John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art - Sarasota Florida USA

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Ringling Museum of Art - Sarasota Florida USA
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The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art - Sarasota Florida

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota FloridaThe John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art was created in 1927 by John Ringling for the people of Florida. Having made a fortune through real estate transactions, railroads, and the well-known circus that he shared with his brothers, John Ringling amassed an art collection of over 600 paintings, sculptures, and various decorative arts including more than 25 tapestries. Collecting for the Museum over the period from 1924 to 1931, Ringling and his wife, Mable Burton Ringling, gathered important works by Cranach, Rubens, Poussin, Hals, Van Dyck, Pietro da Cortona, Guercino and other major artists who worked primarily from 1500 to about 1750.

The Old Master collection, now including approximately 750 paintings, is the most important area of the Museum's holdings and within it, Italian paintings that are among the rarest and most celebrated in the country. The Museum's art collection now consists of over 10,000 objects that include a wide variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from throughout the world.

The Sarasota Museum's collections are housed in several buildings on the estate left, along with the collection, to the State of Florida by John Ringling when he died in 1936. The bayfront estate is located on the West Coast of Florida in the City of Sarasota (Sarasota County), just south of the City of Bradenton and the Manatee County lines. Ringling purchased the then-31-acre property, with an existing frame house, for a winter-vacation residence in 1912. In the early 1920s, he began to engage in extensive real estate development in the Sarasota Florida area and in 1924, began construction of his mansion, Cą d'Zan, and, in 1927, the Art Museum. He later established the circus winter quarters in Sarasota.

Ringling's land development was most noteworthy for the role he assigned to art, shown even in the statuary still decorating and enhancing his road network today. Most importantly, however, he understood the role an art museum could play in enriching people's lives, and when he built The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, it was with the specific intention of bequeathing it and his art collection to the people of Florida.

This unique private developer's dream was fulfilled in 1946 when, ten years after his death, the State of Florida agreed to accept the legacy and provide some funds toward the continued operation of the Museum as a public institution. It shares funding and sponsorship with The John and Mable Ringling of Art Foundation.

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