Joseph Jeffers "Jerry" Dodge, a noted painter and arts leader,
died yesterday after a years-long battle with cancer. He was 79.
Mr. Dodge, who was born in Detroit in 1917, came to
Jacksonville in 1962 to serve as the director of the Cummer
Gallery of Art.
During his 10-year tenure, he tripled the museum's holdings,
making an estimated 1,200 acquisitions. They included the Wark
Meissen Collection, considered by art historians as one of the
most important porcelain collections in the world, and a William
Bouguereau painting that is often reproduced on art calendars.
"He brought culture and class to our town and nurtured the
Cummer Gallery through its first 10 years," said Taylor
Hardwick, a close friend. "In addition to being a superlative
and prolific painter, this erudite man was a connoisseur of all
the arts and supported them with his patronage."
Mr. Dodge left the museum in 1972 to paint full-time. His works
have been widely shown and collected.
"As a painter, he had a highly skilled craft sensibility, with
images connected to a broad history of Western art," said Steve
Lotz, art gallery director at the University of Central Florida,
who curated a show in the fall that featured Mr. Dodge's work.
Mr. Dodge's biographer, Debra Murphy-Livingston, has described
his art as "much more than photographic realism."
"It's informed by years of studying art and its masters. He
really is heir to a great and distinguished classical tradition
in the manner of the French painters Poussin and Corot,"
Murphy-Livingston said in a profile of the artist. …