Bonnet House has had a long and varied history since its establishment in 1920. But today, the estate is a preeminent house museum dedicated not only to historic and environmental preservation but also to learning and creative expression. Both Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett were highly artistic individuals and ensured that art was featured prominently inside their estate. Today, guests have the opportunity to experience firsthand the artwork that so inspired the Bartlett family.
Both Frederic Clay Bartlett and Evelyn Fortune Bartlett were highly esteemed artists. Frederic’s work displayed at Bonnet House was influenced mostly by Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. He worked on mural projects in conjunction with American architects such as Howard Van Doren Shaw, and his easel work was acquired for the collections of several well-respected institutions including The Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh and the National Museum of American Art. Guests can find examples of his easel art displayed in the Bonnet House studio. Frederic’s murals and faux painting can also be found throughout the Main House.
But despite Frederic’s talents in creating art and collecting art, he often commented that his greatest artistic discovery was the innate talent possessed by his third wife, Evelyn Bartlett. With little formal training but a great deal of encouragement from Frederic, Evelyn began painting in 1933. For the next five years, she painted prolifically, and her work was featured in well-received gallery exhibits in cities such as Boston, New York, and Indianapolis. Today, guests can find Evelyn’s works proudly featured in Bonnet House’s Carl J. Weinhardt Gallery.
While enjoying the beautiful paintings on display at Bonnet House, don’t forget that the estate itself is a carefully crafted work of art in and of itself. After Frederic married Evelyn, the couple worked hard to add decorative embellishments throughout the estate in order to bring out the best in both the building and the natural environment surrounding the estate.
Next time you and your family are in the downtown Fort Lauderdale area, be sure to include a trip to the Bonnet House estate. You’ll be sure to find inspiration, and tranquility as you enjoy the artwork, and take in the natural scenery. To plan your next visit, click here or call (954) 563-5393.