On this past Sunday, January 13th, the Hibel Museum of Art celebrated Edna Hibel’s 96th birthday. The museum, located on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida, contains over 1,200 pieces of Edna Hibel’s art. The massive collection of her paintings include themes such as Japanese folklore, dolls, exotic landscapes and probably her most recognizable motif, mothers and their children. Hibel’s art was originally produced in various styles (watercolor, acrylic, porcelain, plates, etc.) and some of her work possesses a three dimensional texture. Her use of color, especially aquamarines, often gives her portraits an other-worldly quality, yet the emotions depicted in the faces of her subjects recall the familiar in the minds of the viewer.
After spending some time looking at all of the paintings on display, I browsed around in the museum’s gift shop, where it took less than 10 minutes for me to decide on which souvenir to purchase. I settled on a switchplate with one of Edna Hibel’s portraits of a mother with child in arms. In it, all of those watery blues and greens so signature to Hibel Art can be found swallowing up rose, auburn and fuchsia paint brush strokes like ocean water engulfing algae.
Edna’s family and closest friends surrounded her during the celebration. Because of the recent flu epidemic spreading around the country, an announcement was made that visitors should avoid hugging the 96 year old artist. Nevertheless, the guest of honor, minutes after blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, enthusiastically greeted her admirers, tirelessly signed autographs, and posed for picture after picture.
Pianist Copeland Davis, whom Edna Hibel personally requested to perform at the celebration, treated her, family members and fans to classical songs, showtunes, and jazz standards. Floating seamlessly in between numbers like Over the Rainbow and Rhapsody in Blue, The Music of the Night and Send in the Clowns, Take Five and The Look of Love, Davis masterfully delighted the crowd.
With more events scheduled on this calendar year, the Hibel Museum of Art promises to deliver the very finest in artistic galleries and musical performance. If you’re ever in town, be sure to stop by the museum and enjoy this terrific site.