Denman Fink as UM Professor

Denman Fink (1880-1956) is often remembered as the artist and illustrator who left an important legacy through the designs he created for George Merrick’s real estate projects in Coral Gables during the 1920s. But he was also a highly regarded educator of art and architecture at the University of Miami, from the founding of the University in 1926 until his retirement in 1952. Since the University of Miami was always an integral part of Merrick’s planned community, Fink, a board member of the consulting architects of Coral Gables, was involved with the University from its inception.

Professor Fink first appeared as Consultant in Architecture in the 1929 Ibis.

The University Archives holds original materials by Denman Fink in the University of Miami Campus Architecture Collection. Fink created the iconic promotional poster entitled Keep the World Coming to Florida, Build the University of Miami, and the collection also includes artistic renderings and preliminary studies for the campus, many never realized, as well as lesser-known architectural drawings of the Solomon G. Merrick Building, campus dormitories, studio apartments, a research lab, and a stadium. A portrait of President Ashe painted by Fink, and the master’s thesis “Denman Fink: Dream Coordinator to George Merrick and the Development of Coral Gables, Florida,” represent other important items that are available for research.

View of the exhibition on the 8th floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

These materials complement The Life and Art of Denman Finke, an exhibition currently on view at the Coral Gables Museum. University Archives partnered with the museum and provided a number of digitized items for their exhibit.

Trustee Julian S. Eaton commissioned the Ashe portrait in honor of the University’s 25th Anniversary in 1951.

UM’s Historical Image on the Cover of “Preservation Today”!

The University of Miami’s two most iconic historical images were featured in the inaugural issue of “Preservation Today” published by Date Heritage Trust in May 2017.

We were pleasantly surprised when we saw the cover of the inaugural issue of “Preservation Today,” which was published in May by Dade Heritage Trust. On the cover is the iconic historical image of the University of Miami taken on January 14, 1925 at the groundbreaking ceremony of Solomon G. Merrick Administration Building.

The elegantly dressed dignitaries gathered here are (from left to right) Phineas Paist, architect for Coral Gables; Denman Fink, artist, artistic advisor to George Merrick, and Professor of Architecture and Art at UM ; Frederic Zeigen, Managing Regent of the University of Miami; Myrtle Zeigen; Bertha M. Foster, Regent and first Dean of the School of Music; and Clara Price, wife of Regent Judge Mitchell D. Price.

Also, the feature story of the publication “How to Succeed in Business: Miami’s Oldest Businesses Share their Secrets of Survival” written by Karen Buchsbaum displays the another iconic image of the University “Keep the World Coming to Florida, Build the University of Miami” illustrated by Denman Fink circa 1925. The author contacted the UM’s University Communications for assistance in April, we provided her introduction to UM history and offered her available images on the early days of the university, and she selected the two impressive images for the publication.

The promotional poster “Keep the World Coming to Florida, Build the University of Miami” was illustrated by Denman Fink circa 1925. He was a nationally known artist, artistic advisor to George Merrick, and Professor of Architecture and Art at UM.

This informative and educational publication advocates preservation of architectural, environmental, and cultural heritage of the Miami-Dade County. We look forward to assisting them again in the near future because we think Richter’s distinctive collections (Cuban Heritage Collection, Special Collections, and University Archives) could contribute to their mission by providing research assistance and historical materials.