In honor of Spring Break, and spring travelers everywhere, let’s send a shout-out to some of our painted friends who have also hit the road lately. The last time I checked, our artworks were not boozing it up on the beach…but then again, I’m a firm believer that works of art have distinct personalities, so perhaps they do get a little crazy when they’re away from home.
As you may know, museums frequently lend works of art to each other for special exhibitions. This is why—if you’re an art dork like me—when I visit a temporary exhibition, I always look at the labels next to each work to see where each one has come from. Sometimes you automatically know, because you recognize something very famous. And sometimes it’s a great surprise, as in: “Who knew that there was a Museum of Bellybutton Lint AND that they just happened to have a major painting by Joe Schmo?”
Those of you who attended the Museum’s fall 2011 exhibition Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper exhibition saw fantastic and rare works of art borrowed from our friends and partners at the Albertina in Vienna (where the exhibition is now on view); as well as the Harvard Art Museums and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many others.
In case you’re traveling yourselves over the next few months, you might run into some of your Milwaukee hometown artistic pals in the following shows.
Henry Ossawa Tanner, Sunlight, Tangiers, 1924.
This marvelous small image of a Moroccan street scene is currently part of the Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit retrospective organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. One of the most prominent African American artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Tanner was an internationally acclaimed painter and one of the great masters of religious painting. You can see Milwaukee’s painting—along with other amazing examples, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts until April 15th. After that, you can catch it at the Cincinnati Art Museum from May 26-September 9th and then the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from October 21st, 2012 until next January 13th, 2013
Duane Hanson, Janitor, 1973.
You know and love—and probably have been fooled by—the Museum’s super-realistic sculpture of a janitor by Duane Hanson. If you’re wondering why he isn’t leaning in his corner at the Milwaukee Art Museum lately, it’s because he’s now jolting visitors to the Lifelike exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Lifelike is a thematic show that questions what’s real and what isn’t. If you’re in Minneapolis before May 27th, you can wave at Janitor there and tell him Milwaukee misses him.
Robert Henri, Blond Bridget Lavelle, 1928.
For someone who doesn’t look old enough to travel without a chaperone, Bridget Lavelle has been getting around! She’s been part of From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland, a show that explores American artist Robert Henri’s frequent trips to Ireland, and the inspiration he found there. Little Bridget was at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina all last summer, followed the show to Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum last fall, and now she has been hanging out in Syracuse, New York, at the Everson Museum of Art, where the exhibition continues until May 12.
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #16, 1968.
This fantastically important abstract painting has really racked up the stickers on its crate. As part of Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series, an exhibition that has brought together this distinctive series within the artist’s career for the first time, Milwaukee’s painting has strutted its stuff at the Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth, Texas, and is now enjoying the sunshine at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California, until May 27th (See? College students aren’t the only one who need a little sun and sand during winter!) You can also catch the exhibition this summer at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC from July 3-September 23, 2012.
George Bellows, Sawdust Trail, 1916.
And speaking of Washington, DC, if you happen to be visiting there between June 10 and October 8th, and drop into the National Gallery of Art (which is free!), you will run into another Milwaukee artwork, the great Sawdust Trail by George Bellows. Milwaukee’s spectacular image of evangelist Billy Sunday and his revival meeting is part of the NGA’s major retrospective on George Bellows that will be debuting there this summer and then travel to the Metropolitan Museum in New York this fall.
I’ll miss these paintings while they’re gone—as I know you do, too—but the Museum is thrilled to be able to share our works with visitors in other places. And we’re always happy to see them when they come home.
Which reminds me: someday I want a T-shirt that says: “My painting went to [FILL IN THE BLANK] and all I got was this lousy t-Shirt!”
William Keyse Rudolph was the Museum’s curator of American art and Decorative arts, focusing on the Museum’s collections of American painting, sculpture, ceramics, glass, furniture, silver, and textiles from the 17th to the 20th centuries.