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Collectors’ Choice: Featured Collector, Dr. Diane DeMell Jacobsen



Written by Caitlyn Cooney, Curatorial Intern

Alexander Krisosheiw, First Kiss, 2013, Mirror Polished Bronze

As cultural institutions, Museums exist based on the premise that they are responsible for the exhibition and preservation of our visual history. The collection of objects and motivation for exhibiting select artworks lies in significance of art in its representation of a culture, a history, and a visual framework for our world. Diane Jacobsen values artwork for this very reason, proactively collecting pieces in order to understand, preserve, and display our cultural history. For Jacobsen, art is something that outlives generations, lifetimes, cultures, and eras, standing as a valuable form of creative documentation. She states, “Hippocrates, the Greek physician who lived circa 460 BC-375 BC, explained in succinct terms the importance and enduring quality of art. His quote was: ‘Ars Longa, Vita Brevis,’ which translates ‘Art is Long, Life is Short.’ I collect art and share it with the broader community because I value art, and my hope is that by showing others, they will appreciate it too. While art represents a snapshot of our visual culture and helps us all to better understand the economic, political, cultural, and social phenomenon of our times, it also transcends them. Art endures and has a civilizing effect on societies, representing the cherished past and hopes for the future. Thus, ‘Art is Long.’”

Seymour Joseph Guy, A Bedtime Story, 1878, oil on canvas

Jacobsen’s collection ranges from the late 19th century to present day, including both sculptures and works on canvas. Collectors’ Choice features several of her most prominent American masterpieces, representing the quintessential aspects of their respective artistic eras. Not to mention, her pieces serve as some of the most captivating, magnetic pieces throughout the entirety of the show, speaking not only to her taste and passions as a collector, but also to the movements and cultural history represented in each piece.

Jacobsen Summer Morning

Edward Moran, Summer Morning, New York Bay, 1872-3, O

Edward Moran’s Summer Morning, New York Bay (1872-73) is a prime example of Jacobsen’s efforts as a collector to feature key pieces of a historic moment. The painting features the essential stylistic aspects of American landscape painting at the time, incorporating inspiration from the Hudson River School and tonalism in his precise rendering of light and form.  Moran became famous for capturing the Maritime history of the United States, and for this reason, he stands out as a shining example of Jacobsen’s strive for historical and cultural preservation.

Jacobsen Vase

Edward Lycett, Aesthetic Movement Covered Vase, c. 1886-92, Ceramic, Enamel and Guilding

Jacobsen states, “Preserving our art treasures, and for me specifically our American art masterpieces, is important so that our future generations can appreciate the richness of our great cultural heritage. We are all here for such a brief moment in time, but art endures.” Though she has comprised her inspiring collection of some of the most aesthetically impressive pieces and noteworthy artists of the last  century or so, her main impact on our community is that of her efforts to preserve and showcase our history, both in the represented artistic movements and artists, as well as in the subjects some depict. As a collector, her efforts encourage our society to value the art of their cultural history as well as support their artistic community every day. She serves as an inspiration for cultural preservation and the appreciation for art in general.



 The exhibition Collectors’ Choice: Inside the Hearts and Minds of Regional Collectors will be on view until September 14th, 2014.

For more information, please visit The Cummer’s website at

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