Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
|Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art|
|Established||22 January 2002|
|Location||600 Klosterman Road
Tarpon Springs Florida 34689
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is an art museum located on the campus of St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The museum houses a permanent collection which includes paintings by Abraham Rattner and contemporary Florida sculpture  including modern art by Abraham Rattner, Esther Gentle, and Allen Leepa, as well as by Rattner's contemporaries, Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Auguste Herbin, Georges Rouault, Hans Hofmann, and Max Ernst. On April 18, 2012, the American Institute of Architects's Florida Chapter placed the museum building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art was the result of a gift of art belonging to Allen Leepa (1919–2009) to the St. Petersburg Junior College (then a two-year community college) in 1996. Leepa, a professor of art at Michigan State University from 1945 to 1983 and an abstract expressionist artist in his own right, was the stepson of Abraham Rattner (1893–1978) – a highly-regarded 20th-century modern artist who was a friend and contemporary of Pablo Picasso and other early modernists in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s – and the son of Esther Gentle (1899–1991), a sculptor, painter and printmaker. After his mother's death, Leepa inherited his stepfather's estate, which included works by Rattner and his contemporaries.
The museum's 20th-century collection is made up of art from the estate of Abraham Rattner, donated by Allen and Isabelle Leepa, along with a collection of over 2,000 words of art by Rattner, Leepa, and Gentle which the Leepas had previously donated to the Tampa Museum of Art in 1997 and which the Tampa museum donated to the Leepa-Rattner Museum before the latter's opening. Rattner's retrospective works account for over 60% of the collection, including lithographs, tapestries, sculptures, clay works, paintings and stained glass. Works by Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, and others are kept in storage and exhibited from time to time.
The museum was designed by Tampa architect Edward C. Hoffman Jr. and built by Creative Contractors, Inc. The interior of the museum resembles the bow of a ship, created by the effect of large skylights that sweep towards the rafters of the building. This image pays tribute to Tarpon Spring's fishing and sponge harvesting industries.
The 53,000 square feet (4,900 m2) complex consists of three buildings in one – the museum, the Ellis Foundation Art Education Center, and the Michael M. Bennett Library – designed in such a way that the buildings appear as if they are pressed together. The Tampa Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects gave Hoffman Architects the 2002 H. Dean Rowe FAIA Award of Excellence for the museum design.
Founding director Lynn Whitelaw, who joined the staff of St. Petersburg College in 1998, was involved in the construction and operations of the museum and directed the museum from 2001 to 2011. He was succeeded as director by Victoria Cooke, who previously served as assistant director of the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, and curator of paintings at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
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- Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places
- Bennett, Lennie (30 June 2009). "Allen Leepa, founder of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, dies at age 90". Tampa Bay.com. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
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- Cataldo, Jamie L. (May–June 2000). "Art is a Draw: The Leepa-Rattner Museum". Tampa Bay Magazine: 159.
- Marger, Mary Ann (20 January 2002). "Pilgrim artist finds a home". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- Anderson, Anne W. (16 March 2010). Insiders' Guide to the Greater Tampa Bay Area: Including Tampa, St. Petersburg, & Clearwater. Insider's Guide. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-7627-5347-5.
- "Design Award Winners – 1992 to Present". American Institute of Architects, Tampa Bay Chapter. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
- "Victoria Cooke new LRMA director". SPC Blue & White. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2011.