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Behind the Scenes Library/Archives

Connecting Orson Welles to the Milwaukee Art Institute

Orson Welles.  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection. Reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-54231
Orson Welles. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection. Reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-54231
Born on May 6, 1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Academy Award-winning filmmaker (George) Orson Welles’ childhood was a Hollywood story of its own.

His father, Richard Head Welles, was a successful inventor and businessman who made a fortune inventing a carbide bicycle lamp. His mother, Beatrice Ives, was an accomplished pianist and spoken word performer. By the age of six, his parents were separated and Welles moved back to Chicago with Beatrice where she had family. Not long after they arrived in Chicago, however, his beloved mother would die of jaundice when Welles was just nine years old. His father, losing his battle with alcohol, would die when Welles was only 15.

In the wake of Ives’ death, Dudley Crafts Watson (1885-1972), a native of Wisconsin and a cousin of Beatrice Ives, became Welles’ guardian in Chicago. Watson, a vocal advocate for the arts, was the very first director of the Milwaukee Art Institute–which was renamed from the Milwaukee Art Society shortly after Watson’s arrival, and is known today as the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Categories
Art Library/Archives

Vive “Verve”

VERVE The French Review of Art Volume 2, Number 8 (September-November 1940) Printed in France Gift of Lillian Schultz
Matisse’s cover, VERVE The French Review of Art Volume 2, Number 8 (Sept-Nov 1940). Printed in France. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Lillian Schultz. Photo by Beret Balestrieri Kohn.

Imagine having your favorite artists, authors, philosophers and others ready at your beck and call for any project you desire.

What would you have them do?

Published by E. Tériade, “Verve: The French Review of Art” was a legendary quarterly art journal with that kind of seemingly-limitless access to legendary artists.

From 1937 to 1975, Tériade (real name Stratis Eleftheriades, French 1889–1983) was an art critic, patron, and publisher that commissioned artists and philosophers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and André Derain to produce works for his prestigious journal.

This particular issue of “Verve” (Vol. 2, No. 8, Sept—Nov 1940), devoted to the “Nature of France”, features a luxurious dark dust jacket after Matisse’s paper cutouts.

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Art Library/Archives

From the Library: “Men Who Own Big Libraries”

Scrapbook of Mr. Charles Mortimer (1824-1911) Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives
The cover (a reused ledger book) of Mr. Charles Mortimer's scrapbook. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives. Photo by the author.

“Men Who Own Big Libraries: Milwaukeeans Who Delight in Collecting All Manner and Kind of Books” (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 18, 1901).

A title not to be passed up, wouldn’t you say? Who are these men, you ask? I had to read the 1901 article and find out …

I found this article, that goes on to describes the book collections of several wealthy Milwaukee attorneys and local leaders, housed alongside a scrapbook in the Museum’s Institutional Archives. The scrapbook was compiled by a man mentioned in the “Men Who Own Big Libraries” article. This man was not exactly a wealthy Milwaukee industrial titan, he was more of an odd man out–a mechanic whose unique collection provides a special surprise for anyone interested in Milwaukee’s early art scene.

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Behind the Scenes Exhibitions Library/Archives

Listen to Frank–“The past always hangs to the future by a thread”

Frank Lloyd Wright, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left, 1954. World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)
Frank Lloyd Wright, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left, 1954. World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

“… Remember this, that society always continues. That the past always hangs to the future by a thread. And organic architecture and the thought behind it and the philosophy it represents is going to be that thread. I am sure of it. …” –Frank Lloyd Wright

Recently, while sifting through hundreds of reel-to-reel recordings of past lectures, our Audio Visual Librarian Beret Balestrieri Kohn stumbled upon a lecture labeled “Historical Master: Reel #93 Frank Lloyd Wright 1940-50 – Lecture at Episcopal at Nashotah.” We sent the recording away for professional transfer and, upon its return, settled into a quiet office to listen to a lecture we thought would be about the work of Frank Lloyd Wright from 1940-1950.

Categories
Art Behind the Scenes Library/Archives

Museum Library – Used Book Sale, March 3-6!

Museum basement corridor lined up with books ready to sell!

It’s book sale time again! With its Used Book Sale, the Museum’s George Peckham Miller Art Research Library is thrilled to provide the community with the opportunity to purchase those materials that are either duplicative or outside of the library’s collecting area. And, of course, all the proceeds benefit the library’s book acquisition fund.

This is an exciting time of year for the library staff as it draws together two years (the last used book sale was in 2009) of cataloguing, organizing, and streamlining the library collection.