Charles Umlauf: One last sale for the city's sculptor
More than 100 works from the estate of an artist who embodied Austin are being offered for sale by his family
Charles Umlauf wasn't just an artist who lived in Austin; he was an artist who was Austin. The eclecticism of his work – including both the natural and the abstract, in media ranging from bronze to limestone to marble to wood – and its embrace of the earthly and the spiritual in equal measure was right in tune with the character of the city. And his sculptures have been so prominently displayed in and around buildings across the city (especially at the University of Texas, where he spent 40 years teaching art), he might be the city's artist of choice. The Michigan native, who moved to Austin with his wife, Angeline, in 1941, felt so blessed by Austin that in 1985 he and Angeline donated his studio and their home to the city in hopes that it could be made into a center for visual art. And just down the hill from that spot, the nonprofit Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, in its 18th year, has given the city a permanent place to enjoy the artist's work.
Now, 14 years after the passing of this sculptor so closely identified with Austin, Austinites have a new opportunity to obtain his work for their own. Between 100 and 200 of the artworks remaining from the Charles Umlauf estate – many that have lived in the Umlauf home for decades – are being offered for sale by the artist's family through the Russell Collection. (Note: None of this art is from the Sculpture Garden and Museum collection.) The works, which range from small drawings to large sculptures, may be seen at the Russell Collection's gallery on West Sixth, where a reception will be held this weekend. At least two of Charles and Angeline's six children will be on hand to answer questions about the works (and perhaps about growing up in South Austin when it was still largely rural). The gallery will also arrange private tours of the estate for serious collectors.
"An Evening With Umlauf" will be held Saturday, April 5, 6-8pm, at the Russell Collection, 1137 W. Sixth. To RSVP, call 478-4440. For more information, visit www.russell-collection.com.