When you look at the painting below, what do you see? American artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) was an Abstract Expressionist;these artists used line, shape, and color to express themselves.
Frankenthaler invented her own painting technique, which she called “soak staining.” First, she added turpentine to her oil paints to make them thinner (and very runny!). Then, she laid a cotton canvas flat on the floor, and poured, dripped, and brushed the paint onto its surface. Since her canvases were unprimed, or raw, the paint soaked into the fabric.
This weekend, take to your sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots to create bright, joyful chalk art! We’re joining with the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) and many other arts organizations throughout the state to encourage a weekend of outdoor art making. Spread positive messages to family, friends, and neighbors—or create your own masterpiece, inspired by works in the Museum’s collection!
Many famous artists have used chalk to make both sketches and finished works of art. To create the drawing below, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) used pastels. Pastels are made from pigment, or color, and chalk; the two are blended and held together with a binder. Picasso’s pastel drawing of a rooster shows many of the special things you can do with this material. Use sidewalk chalk to make a drawing outdoors. Save pastels for drawing on paper!
Here are some tips and tricks for working with chalk and pastels:
The artistic talent of Lois Mailou Jones (1905–1998) was recognized at an early age. She received a wide range of encouragement, including scholarships to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in her native Boston, and after graduating with honors, she assumed teaching was a likely next step. But, in what was the first of several rejections in an openly racist society, she was told to go south and help “her people.”
American artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972) was famous for his imaginative, mixed-media shadow boxes. A shadow box is an enclosed box, with glass on the front, that contains artistic or personal objects. Cornell purchased trinkets from secondhand stores and cut out images from magazines to use as art supplies. He then arranged these objects to create dreamlike, mysterious, and whimsical scenes. Many of his shadow boxes had themes, like outer space or birds. Cornell spent a lot of time by himself; each shadow box offers a glimpse into his private world.
Here’s how you can create your own shadow box, using objects you find at home!
The works by Degas, van Gogh, Bonnard, Modigliani, and others on view in the Modern Visionexhibition are from The Phillips Collection and reflect the lifelong collecting efforts of Duncan Phillips, who developed an interest in art at an early age. A five-part podcast on collectors and collecting produced in conjunction with the exhibition reveals that Phillips worked in concert with his wife, Marjorie, herself an artist, whom he met shortly before he opened his museum. She became the deputy director of the museum and, after Duncan’s death, went on to become its director.
This year the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Mrs. Harry L. Bradley Collection. Upon its donation in 1975, the collection elevated the status of the Milwaukee Art Museum from a local art museum to a museum with a world-class collection.
The collection contains an assortment of European and American paintings, prints, watercolors, and sculptures from the late nineteenth century to the early 1970s, including works by Braque, Picasso, and Kandinsky, to name a few. During my time at the Museum I had the chance to attend a Member lecture with Barbara Brown Lee, a longtime educator at the Museum and personal friend of Mrs. Bradley, to learn more about the collection and the woman behind it.
Comparing the painting by Chaïm Soutine (Russian, 1893–1943, active in France) in the Modern Rebels show (Carcass of Beef) with the one in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection (Children and Geese), it is almost difficult to believe that the two works are by the same artist. The former depicts the body of a cow, flayed open from neck to tail, its scarlet inner organs glistening vividly against the shadowed blue background. In contrast, the artwork within Milwaukee’s own collection is a simple rural scene: a young boy and girl walking down a country path, with abstract brushstrokes suggesting a flock of white geese beside them.
A shockingly graphic image of blood and death versus an innocent, bucolic portrayal of childhood. How could these two works have been painted by the same artist?
Only one artwork from the Milwaukee Art Museum’s own collection is displayed as part of the newly-opened Modern Rebels exhibition: Wassily Kandinsky’s Fragment I for Composition VII. When one reads the title of the equally vibrant artwork from the Albright-Knox Gallery hung next to it, the reason for its inclusion becomes instantly clear.
Modern art is no exception. We have to look no further than the sculptures of Jacques Lipchitz (1891–1973).
Jacques Lipchitz was a Jewish artist from France who was born in Lithuania. He was classically trained in Paris, although he soon worked in a cubist style, such as Sailor with Guitar in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.