High Altitude Society column: Rembrandt ‘Art for Hearts’ benefits Starting Hearts

VAIL — Displayed in the Grand View room on the top floor of the Lionshead parking structure, under the watchful eyes of security guards, there hangs a portion of one of the largest private collections of Rembrandt etchings in the world. Owners Toby and Morton Mower are generously exhibiting their collection to benefit the lifesaving mission of local nonprofit Starting Hearts. Rembrandt Art for Hearts began Thursday and runs through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. It’s $10 per person for admission.

All proceeds directly benefit Starting Hearts, whose mission is to save the lives of cardiac arrest victims in Eagle County by providing free CPR trainings each year and installing automated external defibrillators throughout Eagle County (You can adopt an AED). Lynn Blake knows firsthand about surviving a cardiac arrest and attributes her survival to CPR and early defibrillation. Sue Froeschle was the first responder on the scene.

“It was textbook,” Froeschle said. “We called 911. I was there with her within a minute. We were across from the Vail Fire Station and near Vail Valley Medical Center. Then, the next level of care came in and took over compressions. She had the AED three times, they stabilized her and took her to the ER ... this was seven years ago on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.”

One can understand why Blake is so passionate about this cause as she experienced firsthand how CPR and AEDs can save a life. Enter Dr. Morton Mower, a cardiologist who is the co-inventor of the automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Mower learned of Blake’s work with Starting Hearts, and he and his wife, Toby, got involved and offered the Rembrandt etchings collection as a fundraiser for the nonprofit.

You can see how excited the Mowers are about sharing the collection.

“They love talking about the art work and giving tours,” Blake said.

During a tour on Thursday, Morton Mower said: “Rembrandt’s etchings, rather than being static depictions of things, as previous artists had drawn ... were full of life and motion and emotion. He would often put children and dogs in his artwork.”

Morton then pointed out some realistic scenes from Amsterdam that Rembrandt had drawn.

The Mowers collect impressionist art as well and store their works in safe places.

“We decided if something comes along that is better than we already have, we will step up and sell the older piece and in this way it has helped us make our collection very, very fine ... I believe,” Toby Morton said.

For more information, visit www.startinghearts.org or call 970-331-4066.

Betty Ann Woodland is a long-time local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, galas and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at highaltitude society@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 2, 2014 08:14PM Published Aug 2, 2014 05:38PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.