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Art Collection Education Modern Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Paint and Pour

Abstract paint strokes of black, blue, and red on a white background
Helen Frankenthaler, Hotel Cro-Magnon, 1958. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1966.153. © 2010 Helen Frankenthaler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Abstract paint strokes of black, blue, and red on a white background
Helen Frankenthaler, Hotel Cro-Magnon, 1958 (detail). Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1966.153. © 2010 Helen Frankenthaler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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.

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Art Collection Education Modern Prints and Drawings Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Chalk the State

JULY 25–26, 2020
Rooster in bright colors with both eyes on the same side
Pablo Picasso, Rooster, 1938. Pastel on paper. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.373. Photographer by Larry Sanders © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Rooster in bright colors with both eyes on the same side
Pablo Picasso, Rooster, 1938 (detail). Pastel on paper. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.373. Photographer by Larry Sanders © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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:

Categories
American Art Collection Curatorial Modern

Lois Mailou Jones and “The Ascent of Ethiopia”

Egyptian face in the foreground with a group of people climbing a hill to the city
Lois Mailou Jones, The Ascent of Ethiopia, 1932. Oil on canvas. 23 1/2 × 17 1/4 in. Purchase, African American Art Acquisition Fund, matching funds from Suzanne and Richard Pieper, with additional support from Arthur and Dorothy Nelle Sanders, M1993.191. Photo by John R. Glembin. © Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust
Lois Mailou Jones, The Ascent of Ethiopia, 1932. Oil on canvas. 23 1/2 × 17 1/4 in. Purchase, African American Art Acquisition Fund, matching funds from Suzanne and Richard Pieper, with additional support from Arthur and Dorothy Nelle Sanders, M1993.191. Photo by John R. Glembin. © Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust
Lois Mailou Jones, The Ascent of Ethiopia, 1932 (detail). Oil on canvas. 23 1/2 × 17 1/4 in. Purchase, African American Art Acquisition Fund, matching funds from Suzanne and Richard Pieper, with additional support from Arthur and Dorothy Nelle Sanders, M1993.191. Photo by John R. Glembin. © Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust

The artistic talent of Lois Mailou Jones (1905–1988) 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.”

Categories
Art Collection Modern

Bradley Collection Celebrates 40th Anniversary!

Mrs. Harry L. Bradley standing standing her "Girl in a Straw Hat" on exhibition in "Pierre Bonnard, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 7-November 29, 1964.
Mrs. Harry L. Bradley standing standing her “Girl in a Straw Hat” on exhibition in “Pierre Bonnard” exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 7-November 29, 1964.

This year the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates the fortieth 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.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial Modern

From the Collection–Pablo Picasso’s The Cock of the Liberation

Many of the artists featured in the special exhibition Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery are also represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the fifth in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation), 1944. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.372. Photo credit: Larry Sanders. © 2008 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation), 1944. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.372. Photo credit: Larry Sanders. © 2008 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) is not usually considered a political artist.  His favorite artistic subjects were still-lifes, portraits, harlequins, and other seemingly uncontroversial images.

But in some key instances, world events were an important influence on him.  We don’t have to look far to find an example: the Milwaukee Art Museum’s The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation), painted by Picasso in 1944.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial Modern

From the Collection–Chaïm Soutine’s Children and Geese

Many of the artists featured in the special exhibition Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery are also represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the third in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Chaïm Soutine (Russian, 1893–1943, active in France), Children and Geese, 1934. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.375. Photo credit: Efraim Lev-er. ©2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Chaïm Soutine (Russian, 1893–1943, active in France), Children and Geese, 1934. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.375. Photo credit: Efraim Lev-er. ©2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

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, seen at left), 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?

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Modern

From the Collection–Wassily Kandinsky’s Fragment I for Composition VII

Many of the artists featured in the special exhibition Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery are also represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the second in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944), Fragment I for Composition VII (Center), 1913. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1958.12. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944), Fragment I for Composition VII (Center), 1913. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1958.12. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

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.

Fragment I for Composition VII, meet Fragment II for Composition VII.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial Modern

From the Collection–Theseus by Jacques Lipchitz

Jacques Lipchitz (French, b. Lithuania, 1891–1973, active in the United States), Theseus, 1942. Hollow bronze cast. height: 23 3/4 in. (60.33 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. William D. Vogel M1956.80. Photo credit: Larry Sanders. © Estate of Jacques Lipchitz, all rights reserved.
Jacques Lipchitz (French, b. Lithuania, 1891–1973, active in the United States), Theseus, 1942. Hollow bronze cast. height: 23 3/4 in. (60.33 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. William D. Vogel M1956.80. Photo credit: Larry Sanders. © Estate of Jacques Lipchitz, all rights reserved.

Many of the artists featured in the special exhibition Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery are also represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Knowledge of classical mythology is one of those subjects that will always help the student of art history, no matter what period you study. Over the last few years, I have explored mythological subjects in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection represented in ancient Greek hydriae; Baroque decorative arts and painting; and nineteenth century German ceramics.

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.

Categories
20th and 21st Century Design Art Collection Contemporary Curatorial Modern

Dandelions and Deck Chairs: Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia (American, b. Italy, 1915–1978), Dandelion, 1970. Gold-plated bronze and beryllium. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1975.131. Photo credit: P. Richard Eells. © 2010 Estate of Harry Bertoia / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Harry Bertoia (American, b. Italy, 1915–1978), Dandelion, 1970. Gold-plated bronze and beryllium. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1975.131. Photo credit: P. Richard Eells. © 2010 Estate of Harry Bertoia / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Now that it’s finally starting to feel like summer, let’s talk about dandelions. Sure, they’re technically weeds, and you probably don’t want them taking over your lawn. But it’s fun to make wishes on the white puffy ones, even if it does scatter seeds and just increases the dandelion population exponentially.

Categories
20th and 21st Century Design American Art Collection Curatorial Modern

Lewandowski’s Mosaic Mural at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center

Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. Image courtesy www.warmemorialcenter.org.
Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. Image courtesy http://www.warmemorialcenter.org.

Though the soaring wings of the dramatic Santiago Calatrava building sometimes steal the show, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion is just one of two internationally significant architectural gems here on the Museum campus.

The other is the bold Saarinen masterpiece 1957 Milwaukee County War Memorial Center.

Modernist architect Eero Saarinen (American, b. Finland 1910–1961) is known for dramatic design accomplishments like the St. Louis Gateway Arch (1965), JFK Airport’s TWA Flight Center terminal (1962), and the iconic “Tulip chair” (1955). He took over the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center commission at the death of his father, Eliel Saarinen (Finnish, 1873–1950). The designs called for an arts complex that would “Honor the Dead by Serving the Living,” including a museum, performing arts center, and veterans’ memorial.

On the western facade of Saarinen’s Modernist concrete, steel, and glass floating cruciform is a purple and blue tile mosaic. You probably see this mural best when driving toward the building on Mason Street.

I had been working in this stunning building for several years before I finally paused to ask: What is that mosaic? What do the letters mean? Who is the artist?