History

Albin Polasek (1879–1965) stands as a prominent 20th-century American sculptor, celebrated for his figurative works embodying the true structure of nature. His dedication to showcasing the essential unity of form and the beauty of movement influenced successors like Richmond Barthe, Sylvia Shaw Judson, and Ruth Sherwood.

Born in 1879 in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm Polasek immigrated to the United States in 1901. After initial years as a woodcarver in the Midwest, he formalized his art training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1910, he secured a three-year fellowship in Rome, winning the Prix de Rome competition.

Polasek’s illustrious career included heading the Sculpture Department at the Art Institute of Chicago and receiving honors like being elected an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design in 1927. His significant public commissions, such as the Theodore Thomas Memorial and the Wilson Monument, gained global recognition.

In 1950, Polasek retired to Winter Park, Florida, where he continued his artistic endeavors despite a stroke in 1951. The Albin Polasek Foundation, established in 1961, preserves and shares his extensive body of work, with over 200 pieces on museum property.

The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

Polasek Museum outdoor painting class

The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, founded in 1961, houses a collection focusing on American representational sculpture, prominently featuring Polasek’s creations. The museum is one of only 55 mem­bers listed on the National Trust’s His­toric Artists’ Homes and Studios. We offer guided tours of the historic Polasek residence and chapel, an outdoor sculpture garden, rotating exhibits, and a gift shop.

Join us at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens to explore the legacy of this distinguished sculptor, witness the historic Capen-Showalter House, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Winter Park.

The Capen-Showalter House

The Capen-Showalter House, saved from demolition in 2013, was relocated to the Polasek Museum through community support. After rais­ing $450,000 in four months, the historic house was floated across Lake Osce­ola and then renovated. The home now serves as an integral part of Winter Park’s history. The Capen House is also a beautiful venue for work­shops, meet­ings, spe­cial events, and weddings.

Polasek Museum outdoor painting class