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Art

To be an artist at Yale in 1964…

View of Chuck Close painting of Nancy Graves from standing in front of Graves' "Object Disguised 4 Times”, Milwaukee Art Museum Gallery #27

One of the highlights for visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museums is Chuck Close’s 1968 portrait of Nancy Graves, with its incredible, photo-realistic virtuosity and its huge scale amplifying every facial imperfection in a disquieting, surreal way.

Visitors may not realize that the subject of the painting, Nancy Graves, was a celebrated artist in her own right.

Best known for her early sculptures of highly realistic camels (in a conceit that turned the museum into the zoo), she later incorporated banal objects like children’s toys into Alexander Calder’s and David Smith’s high modernist language of constructed sculpture. Graves was also a painter, and one of her paintings, Object Disguised 4 Times, 1982, is on view in the new installation of the contemporary art galleries.

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Art Membership

The Woodgatherer in my memory, and on a bag!

Jules Bastien-Lepage, Le Père Jacques (Woodgatherer), 1881. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Mrs. E. P. Allis and her daughters in memory of Edward Phelps Allis. Photo by John R. Glembin.

When I was a freshman in high school, I came to the Milwaukee Art Museum on a field trip with my art class. We were instructed to sit in front of Jules Bastien-Lepage’s The Woodgatherer (1881) and take as many notes as possible on what we saw and what it meant to us, so that we could later write a paper on it.