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f11 CIRCUS KING LEFT FLORIDA A GREAT LEGACY By HAMPTON DUNN SARASOTA --They all laughed when John Ringling revealed in 1925 he was going to establish a great art museum on the grounds of his magnificent $1,500,000 Residence here. This man was a gaudy showm an, not a refined lover of art, his scoffers noted. Ringling was not an art collector and, really, he knew little about it. But the mighty circus king learned about art quickly and set about to acquiring the country's largest and finest collection of Baro que paintings of the 16th, 17th and 18 centuries. Ringling liked them because of their vitality. He started build ing a museum to house them. The Great Depression hit and John Ringling ran into financial difficulties, as far as ready cash was concerned. Bu t he never lost sight of his goal of a great art hall. Finally, it was opened in 1930. The building itself is a sight to behold. It is styled after a 15th century Florentine villa and is said to be the most beautiful museum example in the U.S. of Italian Renaissance architecture. A tremendous bronze cast of Michelangelo's statue of "David" dominates the Italian garden court. Ringling died in 1936 and left his art museum and its collections, valued at $15,000,000, plus much other properties, to the State o f Florida. A court fight ensued. Ringling's second wife who he had divorced sought a settlement. After years of litigation, Florida got the museum. The second Mrs. Ringling got One Dollar.
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Circus king left Florida a great legacy
h [electronic resource] /
by Hampton Dunn.
1 online resource (2 p.) :
Title from caption on PDF of p.1 (viewed July 16, 2010).
At head of title: Photouring Florida.
Typescript of Photouring Florida column that describes the private art collection acquired by John Ringling.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
x Description and travel.
t Hampton Dunn Photouring Florida collection.