Did you know that nearly half of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection consists of works on paper? We have more than 15,000 rare prints, drawings, photographs, and book arts.
Works on paper cannot be shown indefinitely, because they are light-sensitive; light will cause them to fade. Accordingly, in order to preserve them in the best condition possible, they are rotated. A rotation is when one work is taken off view and replaced with another, usually every three to four months.
The Museum has a number of new spaces dedicated to works on paper. The focus of these areas range from European prints and drawings (Gallery S202), to modern art from the Bradley Collection (Gallery K215), to Folk and Self-Taught art (Gallery K122). When not on view, those works on paper are stored safely in the dark.
But did you know that you can see works on paper in the collection even when they are not on view? That is because the Milwaukee Art Museum has the Herzfeld Photography, Print, and Drawing Study Center.
Let’s say you can’t make it to the Museum to see Dürer and the German Renaissance before it closes on March 20, but you want to see a print by Dürer. You can make an appointment with our collections manager for works on paper, who will pull the print for you. All of the details can be found here.
In addition to housing the Museum’s collection of works on paper, the Herzfeld Study Center contains a library of monographs on artists, catalogue raisonnés, and reference materials, along with object files and artist files.
We’re very excited to offer this unique opportunity for the public to see artworks up close!
Catherine Sawinski is the Assistant Curator of European Art. When not handling the day-to-day running of the European art department and the Museum’s Fine Arts Society, she researches the collection of Ancient and European artwork before 1900.