The Florence B. Kane Legacy Society honors those generous individuals who had made provisions in their estate plans either through their wills, trusts, retirement plans, or life insurance policies to remember the Providence Art Club.
The names of all these past members can be found in our annual yearbook.
We invite you to create your legacy in support of the Art Club and join these other thoughtful members who have preceded us in sustaining the Club’s financial well being for future generations. You are welcome to inform us of your future intentions and your information and your intentions will remain confidential.
The Florence B. Kane Legacy Society was named for member Florence Brevoort Kane, a noted sculptor and very generous benefactor whose significant bequest enabled the Club to make substantial renovations and launch a National Sculpture Exhibition.
About Florence B. Kane
Florence Brevoort Kane, renowned artist, Pioneer in the sustainment of our Club.
Most present-day Providence Art Club members may not have heard of Florence Kane, a renowned sculptor in the mid 20th century, but we have all seen her art. Many of her pieces, including those pictured above, are on display in Angell’s Lane.
Florence Kane was a prolific sculptor creating, among many pieces, a bust of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, presently displayed in his Presidential Library in Kansas. But beyond her art, Florence Kane is important to our Club for making the first six-figure donation to this organization. This bequest became the foundation of our nest egg and is one of the most prominent examples of the long-standing tradition of members giving and contributing to the sustainability of our Club.
Ms. Kane was born in New York City in 1895 to descendants of the Dutch settlers who founded Manhattan. That same year Florence was brought to Narragansett, where she spent much of her life. Her parents were Henry B. Kane, who served as a Rhode Island state senator, and Florence Hartshorne Kane.
Her family home, Ridgelawn, was on Central Street in Narragansett across from St. Peter’s by-the-Sea, where the Kanes were active parishioners.
At the age of 3, an illness left Florence deaf. She was not taught to speak because her family considered it “unattractive,” as was a common sentiment at the time. She learned to read lips in several languages, but remained mute until the age of 40, when she taught herself to speak.
Ms. Kane accepted being deaf but resented being mute, blaming her parents her entire life, according to Judy Landry, an expert on Florence B. Kane.
But Florence found her voice through her art. In her teens, she studied at the American School of Sculpture in New York City under Solon Borglum, the school’s founder who became her mentor and a major influence on her life.
As a young woman Ms. Kane, who went by Peggy to friends, moved to Paris where she lived as an artist among the salon society of the 1920s. Her parents’ stipend did not allow for an art studio. They considered her practice a mere hobby.
In Paris, Ms. Kane studied with Alex Descatoire and Henri Cordier and exhibited in several gallery shows, which required extreme diligence, as women were quite disadvantaged in that world. She became known principally for her sculptures of horses and busts of African men.
Florence’s parents both died in 1938. Her father excluded her from his will, but her mother left her a trust fund. Just before World War II, Florence Kane buried her artwork in France and left Paris to travel the world. She ultimately settled in Hollywood where she taught herself to speak, and also where the administrators of her trust fund considered her lifestyle too frivolous, and sued her for mismanagement. Her family and friends declared her incompetent. But despite the family drama, Florence remained cordial to her relatives, often signing correspondence “Affectionately, Peggy.”
Having a meager existence in California and nothing to return to in Paris, Florence moved back to Narragansett, purchasing a house in her old neighborhood. She had her artwork dug up in France and shipped to Rhode Island.
Sculpture became Florence’s primary purpose in life. She converted an outbuilding on her property to a studio, where she created many bronze works, including the bust of President Eisenhower, which she personally delivered to him at the White House in 1954.
Kane lived a quiet but very active life in her later years; creating art, attending exhibits, gardening, swimming, playing tennis, riding horses, and spending time at the Providence Art Club, where she exhibited and made many friends. In 1956 Florence Kane died at South County Hospital at age 61.
Upon her death Ms. Kane left half of her inheritance to the Art Club, creating her personal legacy as one of our most generous donors. In recognition of her generosity, when establishing our Legacy Society, there was unanimous agreement that it should be named for Florence. Additionally, the Club has since established the Florence Brevoort Kane award for sculpture, which is given out once a year.
One of Kane’s most renowned works, according to Michael Rose, PAC Gallery Manager, is a sculpture of horses that belongs to the Hope Club in Providence. “She worked as a traditionalist in an abstract era,” says Rose, “and her works often show signs of dignity, humanity, and sensitivity.” After Ms. Kane’s death, the Club held a memorial exhibit in her honor and published a companion booklet about her, entitled “She Found Eloquence.”
The Providence Art Club is a 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation. It is suggested that you discuss with your financial advisor the relative tax advantages of bequests, gifts of cash, securities, etc. for the present and ultimate benefit of the PAC.