Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum


Working in nature, being in nature, just instinctively
relaxes people. They relate to it. And to have fine art in a beautiful garden, each
compliments the other. Charles Umlauf was a noted 20th century American sculptor who
taught at The University of Texas here for 40 years. He came down from Chicago in 1941
and lived here until he died in 1994. His sculpture is easily accessible. It’s primarily
figurative. And as you get comfortable with the figurative pieces then you relax and begin
to understand and appreciate the more abstract pieces that he did as well. Back in 1985 Charles
Umlauf and his wife Angie gave the city of Austin their home, his studio, and 168 pieces
of sculpture, and the city said well thank you and they weren’t quite sure what they
were supposed to do with all of this. Because Charles and Angie wanted to live in their
home and how do you run a museum from somebody’s house. And luckily this piece of property
we’re on now became part of the city land bank and so it took six years for a group
of private citizens led by one Austin’s grand dames Roberta Crenshaw to raise the money
to build this museum on this piece of property that adjoins the unlost two acres. And it’s
fascinating because people who’ve been here before will come and say ‘oh I love what you’ve
done in the back, you know, the way you’ve rearranged those sculptures.’ We haven’t.
We don’t have the money too, but since the last time they were here the trees have lost
their leaves, the light is slanting in differently so they have a whole new experience with that
particular piece of sculpture. So it’s just a changing and fascinating and enriching experience
to have it all in the garden.

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