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Edna Hibel was a world-renowned artist who lived in Palm Beach, Florida. Her works are on display at the Lafayette Art Association & Gallery through June 15.




Lafayette is now home to the world’s largest collection of Edna Hibel’s artwork, some of which are on display at the Lafayette Art Association & Gallery through June 15.

And don’t worry if you can’t make it to the show before it ends. In July, it will be moved to the Lafayette Consolidated Government building on West University Avenue.

Plans are now underway to raise funds for a museum to display Hibel’s work, marking the end of a story that began with a friendship between the Florida artist and Lafayette residents Floyd and Priscilla Lebeau.







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Edna Hibel was a world-renowned artist who lived in Palm Beach, Florida. Her works are on display at the Lafayette Art Association & Gallery through June 15.




The Lebeaus were both collectors of Hibel’s work and close friends of the artist, who died on December 5, 2014 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Hibel was known for her paintings of people expressing emotion. Her works were sought after by royalty, collected by museums, commissioned by the United Nations and national archives, and honored with a special award by Pope John Paul II.

So how did this massive collection of Hibel’s work come to Lafayette? Local artist Laura LaHaye said the story began when Pricilla Lebeau won a trip to the Edna Hibel Museum of Art, which was housed at a university in Palm Beach and housed the artist’s work at the time.

“That was many years ago,” LaHaye said. “Pricilla entered a raffle and won. She won the trip and she and Floyd went. They became very, very personal friends with Edna Hibel, so much so that they even visited her in Florida and she visited her in Lafayette. She even treated the Lebeaus’ children like her grandchildren. It was a very close relationship.”







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Edna Hibel was a world-renowned artist who lived in Palm Beach, Florida. Her works are on display at the Lafayette Art Association & Gallery through June 15.




Meanwhile, the Lebeaus began collecting Hibel’s works.

“Years ago, they invited her to an event at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette because so many people in this area had started collecting her work,” LaHaye said. “She asked me to sit next to her and help her through the night, and I was like a little groupie. I was just so blown away because she was one of my favorite artists before I knew anything about her.”

LaHaye remembers grabbing two of her own brushes before leaving for the event.

“I just wanted her to hold it in her hands,” she said. “But she ended up signing it.”

After Hibel’s death, the university that housed the Hibel Museum did not renew the lease. Hibel’s three sons moved the artworks to the storage building.

“But it was overwhelming for him,” LaHaye said. “They couldn’t handle it all, so they called and offered the entire museum collection to Floyd and Priscilla, the couple who had been like family to them. They already had a large collection and now they have this.”







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Edna Hibel was a world-renowned artist who lived in Palm Beach, Florida. Her works are on display at the Lafayette Art Association & Gallery through June 15.




The Lebeaus would like to bring together Hibel’s works in a collection.

“So, Priscilla saw a picture of me with Edna Hibel and called,” LaHaye said. “She started taking art classes with me and then told me that she and Floyd owned the entire collection of Edna Hibel’s work.”

LaHaye told Priscilla that the collection should be displayed in its own museum in Lafayette.

“So that’s the goal – to raise money for a museum,” LaHaye said.

A closing reception for the exhibition at the Lafayette Art Association, 1019 Auburn Ave., is planned for Saturday, June 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include champagne and an entry into a drawing for a lithograph by Edna Hibel.

The exhibit will move to the Lafayette Consolidated Government Building at 705 W. University Ave. on July 2.

To purchase tickets to the closing reception, call (337) 269-0363 or visit lafayetteart.org.

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