Ted Aub, professor of art, has created a four-piece sculpture depicting George Merrick and his wife Eunice for the central garden of the Village of Merrick Park shopping complex in Miami, Fla.
George E. Merrick, the father of Coral Gables, who turned his family's guava and grapefruit groves into The City Beautiful, is the inspiration for the four sculptures. The bronze sculptures, named for the four seasons, are instant landmarks at the open-air, Mediterranean-style center. The first piece is a 1,500-pound, six-foot version of Merrick's head with a hilltop full of local landmarks comprising his hat. It's followed by the Merrick gondola scene. Nearby is a bronze of Eunice looking long and glamorous in front of the Sonia Rykiel and Hugo Boss stores. A bit farther: two peacocks, which represent the couple in the later years, making their way along a coral rock wall.
“It's about the love story between Eunice and George,” said Aub. “He wanted an Eden-like Coral Gables for her. In the gondola, he's paddling toward Eunice,” Aub added. “He originally advertised 40 miles of waterfront for each side of the canal that ran through Coral Gables. He brought in real gondolas and gondoliers from Venice so guests at the Biltmore could ride to the beach.”
Aub says he's taken with Eunice. “She's the focal point,” he says of the year-and-half-long project. “Venus was the goddess of gardens in Roman mythology and there she is in the center of the garden.”
The story of the sculptures was on the front page of the Miami Herald's Living and Arts section Sept. 25, titled “Art, The man sell story of Coral Gables”.