The Ringling Museum
A Sarasota Florida Gem
On A Smartphone ?
Click on Photo to Enlarge
John Ringling, the most well-known of the seven Ringling brothers, five of whom merged the Barnum & Bailey Circus with their own
circus to create the Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, became very wealthy
through his success with the circus and other investments. In 1911, having fallen in love with the warm climate
and friendliness of the people of Southwestern Florida, John and his wife Mable eventually purchased a 20 acre lot of Sarasota
waterfront property overlooking Sarasota Bay and in 1919, they established
the winter quarters of the circus in Sarasota there. Eventually, John and Mable decided to make Sarasota their permanent home.
The first major project undertaken in Sarasota by this wealthy couple
was a splendid mansion built between 1924 and 1926 for the then staggering sum of $1.5 million. Inspired by and designed in the
Venetian Gothic style of the palazzos that ring the canals of Venice Italy, their dazzling palatial mansion perfectly captured the splendor and
romance of the Italy the Ringlings so loved. To honor its owner, they named it Ca dZan, House of John.
During America's Gilded Age, Ringling acquired a significant art collection and rare antiquities from all over Europe and Cyprus.
To display his collection, he built the 21-gallery Ringling Museum of Art on his property.
John Ringling bequeathed his art collection, the CadZan mansion and the property surrounding it to the State of Florida at his death in 1936.
For nearly 10 years after Ringlings death, the Ringling Museum was opened only infrequently and poorly maintained. The C�Zan mansion remained a
private home while the State of Florida fought with creditors over the fate of the estate. In 1946, title of the property was transferred to the State of Florida.
After years of restoration, the home and museum were opened to the public. it is now one of the "not to be missed" attraction of Downtown Sarasota
Florida. Now designated as the official Florida state art museum, the institution offers its 21 galleries of European paintings, Cypriot antiquities
and Asian, American, and contemporary art.