The McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) has accepted the donation of much of the body of work of sculptor and longtime local resident Emilie Benes Brzezinski.
The gift was announced at the arts organization’s recent “ArtSprings!” benefit, held online and featuring remarks by Brzezinski’s children Ian, Mark and Mika.
“Mom’s art has inspired my brothers and me throughout our lives,” Mika Brzezinski said. “Now, with MPA’s lead, her works can continue to inspire generations to come.”
The Fairfax County Park Authority has acquired the family’s 5.45-acre property, known as Spring Hill, which currently preserves open space and holds potential for a future community park.
“The entire MPA community is honored to receive this spectacular gift from Emilie Brzezinski, and thrilled to work with the Brzezinski family in celebrating her vision of art in nature,” MPA executive director Lori Carbonneau said.
“Given our respect for MPA’s place in the region’s art community, and Mom’s longstanding and authentic relationship with MPA, my family and I are thrilled that MPA has accepted our gift,” said Ian Brzezinski, an MPA board member.
Born in 1932 in Geneva, Switzerland, Emilie Brzezinski immigrated to the United States with her parents and grew up in California. She graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in art history in 1953. Brzezinski began her art career in the 1970s working with a variety of media, including resins, latex and wood fiber. Her expressive themes always related to nature.
Eventually, she shifted focus to creating monumental wood sculpture, using a chain saw and ax to carve towering forms that breathed new life into felled trunks.
Over the past two decades, Brzezinski has had many gallery and museum installations in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Corcoran Museum and the Kreeger Museum, both in Washington, and also be seen at sculpture parks across North America.
Many of Brzezinski’s works are in the Czech Republic, the country of her family’s origin. There, “Prague Titans” gazes upon the Vltava River, and a more restrained installation, “Broken Blocks,” can be seen in the National Gallery in Prague.
The Brzezinski family are longtime residents of McLean. In the 1980s, Emilie Brzezinski built her studio on the family property. She recently relocated to Florida.