The J. Hyde Crawford gift of art is the single most important collection the Orlando Museum of Art has received in its history. It represents the generosity and philanthropic vision of the renowned fashion illustrator and artist, J. Hyde Crawford. Mr. Crawford was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and raised in Orlando. After graduating from Orlando High School, Mr. Crawford attended Parsons School of Design in New York City. He was a highly recognized fashion illustrator whose best known work was the redesign of Bonwit Teller’s floating bouquet of violets, which became an icon of sophisticated retail advertising in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1968, Mr. Crawford founded Quadrille, a fabric and wallpaper company known for bold and stylish designs that adorned many of the country’s fi nest homes. Throughout his life, Mr. Crawford maintained ties to Central Florida and with this bequest leaves the community a lasting legacy to enjoy.
The J. Hyde Crawford and Anthony Tortora Collection includes works by important American artists who rose to prominence in the decades following World War II. At the time that Crawford and Tortora were forming this collection, these were among the leading contemporary artists of the day. Friedel Dzubas, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Kenzo Okada and Andrew Tavarelli were associated with the period’s key art movements including Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Painting. Richard Diebenkorn was an innovative member of the West Coast’s Bay Area Figurative Movement, which challenged the primacy of abstract painting in the 1950s and 1960s. Claudio Bravo and Alan Magee, on the other hand, successfully established modern styles of vivid realist painting that were based in traditions going back to the Baroque era. While there is diversity in the collection, all of these artists were engaged in the progressive aesthetic ideas that shaped the art of their time. Also included in the collection are two paintings by Rosa Bonheur and Jean-Leon Gerome, popular French academic painters of the 19th century.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website