From the Collection–Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Augustus III, King of Poland

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Dresden, Germany, established 1710). Augustus III, King of Poland, 18th century. Glazed porcelain, with polychrome overglaze decoration, and gilding, 30 × 16 1/2 × 13 1/4 in. (76.2 × 41.91 × 33.66 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation, M1962.364. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Dresden, Germany, established 1710). Augustus III, King of Poland, 18th century. Glazed porcelain, with polychrome overglaze decoration, and gilding, 30 × 16 1/2 × 13 1/4 in. (76.2 × 41.91 × 33.66 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation, M1962.364. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

Believe it or not, this imposing sculpture is made out of a material that we usually associate with teacups and figurines for our end tables.  That’s right–this two-and-a-half feet tall man is made out of porcelain!

But it’s not just any porcelain.  It’s porcelain made at the factory in Meissen, Germany.  You may remember Meissen as one of the most important names in European porcelain production from my series on German drinking vessels.

Just to recap, Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, was obsessed with porcelain and purchased huge amounts of Chinese and Japanese examples for his palaces in Dresden. But he, like so many rulers in Europe, wanted to be able to make what was dubbed as “white gold” for himself.

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From the Collection–George Vicat Cole, At Arundel, Sussex

George Vicat Cole (English, 1833–1893), At Arundel, Sussex, 1887. Oil on canvas, 32 1/2 × 52 1/16 in. (82.55 × 132.24 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of J.M. Durand. L1888.17 Photo credit: John R. Glembin

George Vicat Cole (English, 1833–1893), At Arundel, Sussex, 1887. Oil on canvas, 32 1/2 × 52 1/16 in. (82.55 × 132.24 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of J.M. Durand. L1888.17 Photo credit: John R. Glembin

For those you who where able to see the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Salon-style hang in Gallery 10 a couple of years ago, this painting may look familiar.  This is because it is a Layton Art Collection painting that was brought out of storage for that display.

Happily, a number of paintings from that special installation will be included in the European galleries once we reopen, and we anticipate that this painting will be one of them!

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“Restore. Reinstall. Reimagine” at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Construction will be continuing throughout the summer, leading  up to the gallery’s reopening in fall 2015. Photo by Brady Roberts

Construction will be continuing throughout the summer, leading up to the gallery’s reopening in fall 2015. Photo by Brady Roberts

I first started coming to the Milwaukee Art Museum when I was a sixth grader, attending the Wisconsin Writes [ed. note: now called the Art of Writing] conference for middle school students. This is a school program for young authors and artists hosted by the Museum, and it was the first time that I set foot in Milwaukee. The conference was an opportunity to view the permanent art pieces in the galleries, and the goal was to be inspired by an individual piece of art and reminded of a personal story to write about. These stories would then be included in a compiled publication from all the students in attendance. It was a chance to form a connection with the art, and for me was one of the most memorable parts of my middle school career. I remember sitting upstairs among the Bradley Collection, waiting to decide which piece I would choose to write about while looking out at Lake Michigan, feeling a great sense of peace. Continue reading

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From the Collection–Maria-Theresia van Thielen, Still Life with Parrot

Maria-Theresia van Thielen (Flemish, 1640–1706), Still Life with Parrot, 1661. Oil on canvas. 21 × 27 in. (53.34 × 68.58 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Schroeder in memory of their parents. M1967.41

Maria-Theresia van Thielen (Flemish, 1640–1706), Still Life with Parrot, 1661. Oil on canvas. 21 × 27 in. (53.34 × 68.58 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Schroeder in memory of their parents. M1967.41

This still life is probably one of the only signed paintings by Flemish flower painter Maria-Theresia van Thielen. It is truly a jewel of the collection!

Maria-Theresia van Thielen was one of three daughters of flower painter Jan Philips van Thielen. Her two sisters also became painters. The skillful and interesting composition of our painting sets it apart from most flower paintings by the van Thielen family; this may be why Maria-Theresia prominently signed it here on the pillar.  There you can see “M.T. von Thielen” along with F. (for fecit, which is Latin for “made in”), Ano (short for Anno Domini, or A.D.) and the year, 1661. Continue reading

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German Tankards and Steins: Part 8–Character Steins

VEB Porzellanmanufactur Plaue (Plaue, Germany, established 1816). "Singing Pig" Stein, ca. 1900. Glazed hard paste porcelain, colored underglaze decoration, and pewter. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.984. Photo by Melissa Hartly Omholt.

VEB Porzellanmanufactur Plaue (Plaue, Germany, established 1816). “Singing Pig” Stein, ca. 1900. Glazed hard paste porcelain, colored underglaze decoration, and pewter. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.984. Photo by Melissa Hartly Omholt.

Ready for some more laughs? In this post, we’ll be looking at more German steins meant to be amusing.

The industrial revolution of the nineteenth century meant that more goods could be produced quickly and more people could afford those goods. Developments in the technique for shaping ceramics meant that steins didn’t have to be a standard shape—they could be molded in all sorts of ways. And, in a never-ending quest for novelty, they were! Continue reading

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