This major fundraiser featured fare from 20 local restaurants, wine, a silent and live auction, live music and, of course, striking artwork. Though the humidity that night made us feel like we were in Houston, the event was unmistakably Austin with excited chatter, beautiful summer dresses and a garden full of sculptures made by a man who loved this city, Charles Umlauf (1910-1994).
The Nash Hernandez Orchestra, known as Austin’s longest running band, set the tone for the night. Trumpeter Nash Hernandez formed the band in 1949 and after his death his son Ruben (Drums) took over. The group was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
The live auction started at 7:45 PM. Turquoise earrings, ACL VIP passes and several pieces from featured artist Lance Letscher were auctioned off by a professional auctioneer.
Family (1960, bronze) is one of many Umlauf pieces dedicated to family dynamics. Charles was raised in a large family and his work reflects his love and fascination with familial relationships.
The full version of this sculpture was Umlauf’s first commissioned piece for the University of Texas campus. The 15 foot piece stands in front of the Red McCombs School of Business.
Diver (1956, bronze) was modeled after one of Umlauf’s six children, Arthur. The children would walk from their home on a hill and through what is now the sculpture garden to access Barton Springs. Arthur actually posed for this piece, but he couldn’t keep the awkward stance for long.
I spotted this intriguing tower of colorful droplets from across the garden. Upon closer inspection, I saw they were different flavors of meringues.
Fluff Meringues & More uses high quality ingredients to create beautiful and tasty treats. Owner Kristin Collins says the Ginger Lemongrass flavor is her favorite. It has a delicate lemon taste with a strong kick of ginger at the end.
Twin Liquors provided a generous amount of specially curated wine choices for the evening. The wine flowed into glasses marked with the Umlauf Garden Party logo. Every year, the Umlauf provides guests with details that make the evening feel special.
Umlauf created a large series of sculptures featuring lovers. This piece (The Kiss, 1970, bronze) was heavily inspired by Auguste Rodin’s Kiss (1889).
Umlauf’s The Kiss and Lovers V are located in the midst of small bodies of water at the garden. The sculptures are removed from viewers as if to give them a more intimate setting.
The silent auction took place within the Museum Gallery. Guests placed bar-coded stickers next to amounts on items such as Austin Film Festival passes, ceramic pieces, beautiful vessels with succulent plants and other fun indulgences. Since this is the largest annual fundraising event for the Umlauf, people are ready to give and provide friendly competition.
St. Francis with Birds (1972, bronze) is strategically placed in the garden to overlook small animal sculptures like Lotus the hippo, since St. Francis is the patron saint of animals.
Charles Umlauf himself personally planned the location of permanent collection pieces, alongside museum directors and curators.
Each year, the Umlauf brings a large assortment of Austin’s best restaurants to the garden to provide guests with a selection from their menu. Bess Bistro served oven-roasted pork chow this year. Since I’m a vegetarian, I didn’t try it, but Rebecca reported that it had a nice crunch and wonderful flavor.
Pietà (1945, bronze) is a beautiful representation of how Umlauf uses sculpture to tell an emotional three-dimensional story. When looking at the piece from the trail, one sees a traditional pietà scene of Mary and Jesus. But if viewers walk around the artwork, they see a grieving Mary Magdalene.
The annual Garden Party is such an exciting event for every attendee. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum continues to develop while remaining true to Umlauf’s vision. This month, they debuted a new piece in the permanent collection: Pointed Sphere (2005) by Damian Priour. This is the first piece in the permanent collection not created by Charles Umlauf.
@MadameKLM wants to know:
Did you enjoy your last visit to Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum?