Oscar Bluemner’s daughter, Vera Bluemner Kouba (1903-1997), bequeathed her extensive collection of more than 1,000 of her father’s works to Stetson University in 1997. The legacy includes works in varied media, from pencil and charcoal studies to major works in oil and watercolor, and from every period of his production.
Kouba, who always felt her father had been overlooked in the art world, preserved these works in her modest home in DeLand, Florida, where she had retired with her husband, Rudolph Kouba, in the 1970s.
Appropriately, since Oscar Bluemner was a strong advocate of the connection between music and the visual arts, the couple was drawn to Stetson University through their love of music and enjoyment of School of Music concerts. Kouba abandoned early aspirations as a concert pianist because of her family’s failing financial circumstances.
When her husband died in the early 1990s, Kouba looked for ways to preserve and enhance her father’s legacy after she was gone. She chose Stetson University as the depository for this important legacy. Before her death, she attended two small exhibitions of her father’s work at the Duncan Gallery and was honored with a memorial plaque.
The Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection is now permanently housed in the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center. The Bluemner Gallery features rotating exhibitions of works from the collection.