Charles Umlauf is a renowned sculptor who taught at the University of Texas for 40 years. You can now visit many of his sculptures at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, our latest stop on Discover Austin. If you’d prefer to read about the Sculpture Garden, the script can be found below the video.
Greetings. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. Tucked away near Barton Springs is an outdoor oasis of art waiting for you to explore. We’re going to visit the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum on this episode of Discover Austin.
The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum opened in 1991 on a shady, six-acre site just around the corner from Zilker Park. On continuous display in the outdoor garden are 59 sculptures. The UMLAUF owns over 270 sculptures some of which are rotated through the museum from time to time. All but a handful of the sculptures were created by Charles Umlauf. He was born in Michigan in 1910. Even before he was 10 years old, it was clear that he had remarkable artistic talent. In 1941, Umlauf moved to Austin with his wife when he became a Life Drawing and Sculpture professor at the University of Texas. Umlauf would go on to become a very accomplished sculptor and artist, spending 40 years teaching at UT. In 1985, he gifted his land, home, studio, and many sculptures to the city of Austin which has now become the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum. He died in 1994. In the future, the UMLAUF hopes to open up the house and private sculpture garden to guests.
Umlauf’s work is diverse as he was known to do expressionism, realism, and abstraction. While his early works often were wood, terra cotta, or cast stone, as he developed his skills, he graduated to bronze, alabaster, and marble. The bronze sculptures at the UMLAUF have a light coating of wax on them which allows viewers to touch the sculpture without causing harm to the piece. Some of the more popular pieces are The Torchbearers, Spirit of Flight, and War Mother. Some of the sculptures here are smaller versions of pieces on display elsewhere. For example, Spirit of Flight is the scale model for a 17’ statue on display at Dallas Love Field while Madonna & Child is the scale model for an 8’ sculpture at St. David’s Hospital in Austin.
Umlauf was well-respected outside of Austin, too. In fact, Umlauf has more pieces in public locations than any other artist in Texas. Both the Smithsonian and Metropolitan Museum of Art own Umlauf’s work.
While the outdoor garden is the main attraction, there is an indoor museum that features four or five rotating exhibits a year. In addition, there are more than 2000 of Umlauf’s drawings in the museum’s collection.
There are many activities that happen at UMLAUF. Family Day is the second Sunday of each month and features sculpture searches, art activities, performances, and more. Adults can take part in Yoga in the Garden and special artist talks. UMLAUF After Dark allows the public to meet artists and musicians. While self-guided tours are always available, you can get a guided tour on the third Saturday of the month.
The gorgeous grounds are also available to rent for weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, and more.
I encourage you to take time to come out to UMLAUF Sculpture Garden. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. Thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin. And remember, when you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Central Texas, I’m ready to help.