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Art Behind the Scenes Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

Early Printed Books: A Chance to Turn the Pages

Woodcut by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff. Printed by Anton Koberger and Johannes Schoensperger, Two leaves from the book The Nuremberg Chronicle (Liber Chronicarum or Weltchronik), with a woodcut of a view of Bamberg, 1493 (detail). Woodcut and letterpress, Purchase, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Fund, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1970.51. Photo by John R. Glembin.
Woodcut by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff. Printed by Anton Koberger and Johannes Schoensperger, Two leaves from the book The Nuremberg Chronicle (Liber Chronicarum or Weltchronik), with a woodcut of a view of Bamberg, 1493 (detail). Woodcut and letterpress, Purchase, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Fund, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1970.51. Photo by John R. Glembin.

I’m a book lover. Always have been, always will be. For me, the physicality of a book—the tactile qualities of holding it in my hands, the smell of the paper and ink, and the sound of turning the pages—it is part of a complete experience that I never want to give up. And I’m not the only one. Although e-readers have taken part of the book market, readers still prefer physical books and physical books outsell e-books.

I don’t own an e-reader, but I do a lot of reading on screens, usually on my computer. Compared to even ten years ago, an enormous amount of important scholarship for the art historian is on the internet. I still conduct good and thorough research using printed books, but it’s amazing what is available with a few taps of the keyboard.

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Art Art News Collection Curatorial Membership Prints and Drawings

Happy 40th Anniversary Print Forum

People riding into a party on horseback
Warrington Colescott, I Ride with the Blue Riders. We Visit die Brücke Picnic and Enjoy a Bratwurst, Reminding Me of Summer in Milwaukee, from the portfolio My German Trip, 1992. Color soft-ground etching, spit bite bitumen aquatint, and color relief; plate: 11 13/16 × 13 7/8 in., sheet: 14 11/16 × 20 in. Purchase with funds from Print Forum, M2006.38.9. Photo by Michael Tropea. © Warrington Colescott
People riding into a party on horseback
Bratwurst, Reminding Me of Summer in Milwaukee, from the portfolio My German Trip, 1992. Color soft-ground etching, spit bite bitumen aquatint, and color relief; plate: 11 13/16 × 13 7/8 in., sheet: 14 11/16 × 20 in. Purchase with funds from Print Forum, M2006.38.9. Photo by Michael Tropea. © Warrington Colescott

Nearly forty years ago, in 1981, a group of twelve Museum Members with an interest in prints and drawings established Print Forum. George Evans and Kent Anderson served as the group’s first president and vice-president, respectively. One of the Museum’s nine currently active support groups, Print Forum is among the longest standing.

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Art Collection Education Modern Prints and Drawings Studio at Home

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

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
JULY 25–26, 2020

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:

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Art Collection Collection Reflection Curatorial Prints and Drawings

Collection Reflection: Associate Curator Nikki Otten on Odilon Redon

Multi-colored flowers in a blue vase
Odilon Redon (French, 1840–1916), Vase of Flowers, 1900/16 (detail). Pastel on paper. 35 × 28 in. (88.9 × 71.12 cm). Purchase, Marjorie Tiefenthaler Bequest and partial gift of Louise Uihlein Snell Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation M1996.37. Photo by Larry Sanders

We invite you to join us as each curator focuses on a single work of art, exploring both that object and how the object speaks to the collection as a whole, as well as to the chosen theme in particular.

In this first iteration, we examine the notion of still life as it has been treated in artwork across time.

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Art Collection Curatorial Prints and Drawings

Peasants and Preservation: The Barbizon School Artists and the Struggle for Fontainebleau Forest

Jean-François Millet, The Shepherdess—large plate, 1862(detail). Etching. Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection, M2004.245. Photo by Efraim Lev-er.
Jean-François Millet, The Shepherdess—large plate, 1862. Etching. Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection, M2004.245. Photo by Efraim Lev-er.

Upon first glance, The Shepherdess by Jean-François Millet seems to represent a purely bucolic scene in rural France. Millet completed the etching in 1862, and in it, we see a woman knitting while her sheep graze in a field in the distance. She wears a cape, a bonnet, and sabots—wooden shoes associated with the lower classes in France. Her face is obscured by the shade of the trees growing behind the boulder where she rests. On her right, a dog keeps watch over the sheep. A sense of purposeful stillness pervades the scene. Despite the tranquility of the image, however, the setting and activities it depicts are closely related to ecological debates that took place in French society between the 1830s and 1870s. One such debate centered on Fontainebleau Forest.

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Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: An Illuminated Manuscript

French, Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter, early 14th century. Tempera, ink, and gold leaf on parchment. 6 3/8 × 4 7/16 in. (16.19 × 11.27 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Paula Uihlein M1932.108. Photo credit: John R. Glembin
French, Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter, early 14th century. Tempera, ink, and gold leaf on parchment. 6 3/8 × 4 7/16 in. (16.19 × 11.27 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Paula Uihlein M1932.108. Photo credit: John R. Glembin
French, Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter, early 14th century (detail). Tempera, ink, and gold leaf on parchment. 6 3/8 × 4 7/16 in. (16.19 × 11.27 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Paula Uihlein M1932.108. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

Before the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, books were handwritten. Imagine…every time a copy of a text needed to be made, someone had to do it painstakingly by hand. In our world of quick reproductions and the ease of hitting “print”, this can be hard to believe!

The exhibition The Art of Devotion: Illuminated Manuscripts from Local Collections, on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum through June 16, 2019, aims to provide an introduction to these handwritten texts—called manuscripts—that were made in the middle ages and early Renaissance. A good number of those manuscripts are also illuminated, or decorated with gold, silver, and bright colors that make them literally look like they shine from within.

Categories
Art Collection European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: The Temple of Flora

Yellow and red flowers with long stems
Richard Earlom (English, 1743–1822), after Philip Reinagle (English, 1749–1833), The Superb Lily, published June 1, 1799 (detail). Color aquatint, etching, stipple, and mezzotint with hand coloring, varnished. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William F. Pabst Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Starr III in memory of Mrs. Carl Eberbach M1973.100. Photog credit: John R. Glembin.
Richard Earlom (English, 1743–1822), after Philip Reinagle (English, 1749–1833), The Superb Lily, published June 1, 1799. Color aquatint, etching, stipple, and mezzotint with hand coloring, varnished. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William F. Pabst Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Starr III in memory of Mrs. Carl Eberbach M1973.100. Photog credit: John R. Glembin.
Richard Earlom (English, 1743–1822), after Philip Reinagle (English, 1749–1833), The Superb Lily, published June 1, 1799. Color aquatint, etching, stipple, and mezzotint with hand coloring, varnished. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William F. Pabst Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Starr III in memory of Mrs. Carl Eberbach M1973.100. Photog credit: John R. Glembin.

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until December 3) is The Temple of Flora. The show features fifteen large-scale color prints from the illustrated book The Temple of Flora. They reflect the true passion of English doctor John Robert Thornton: botany. In honor of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778), Thornton hired eminent artists to produce the engravings, envisioning a series of seventy plates. The extreme cost of hiring top artists to create such labor-intensive prints, however, resulted in the creation of only thirty-three plates, which he released individually between 1799 and 1812. Learn more about what makes these prints so unique with today’s post.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: The Annuciation by Hendrick Goltzius

Winged woman holding flowers out to a pregnant woman with cupids above
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594 (detail). Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594. Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594. Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 30) is Alluring Artifice: Mannerism in the Sixteenth Century. The show features 30 prints that explore Mannerism, a movement that emerged in European art around 1510–20 and lasted until about 1600. Characterized by densely packed compositions and a focus on the human form, the style resulted in images that are deliberately challenging in both design and technique. One of the prints featured in the show is The Annunciation, an engraving by the Dutch master printmaker Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617).

Over the years, people that I meet have asked me what I am working on, and I usually reply that I was reading a book on art history. At one point I said that to my mathematics teacher from high school. He turned his head quickly and said confidently, “Like about Da Vinci?”

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche by Diana Mantuana

Scene of people laying around and eating, drinking, and talking
Diana Mantuana (Italian, ca. 1547–1612), after Giulio Romano (Italian, probably 1499–1546), Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche, 1575 (detail). Engraving. Plate and sheet: 14 13/16 × 44 1/8 in. (37.62 × 112.08 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the DASS Fund M2013.34. Photo credit by John R. Glembin.
Scene of people laying around and eating, drinking, and talking
Diana Mantuana (Italian, ca. 1547–1612), after Giulio Romano (Italian, probably 1499–1546). Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche, 1575. Engraving. Plate and sheet: 14 13/16 × 44 1/8 in. (37.62 × 112.08 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the DASS Fund M2013.34. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 30) is Alluring Artifice: Mannerism in the Sixteenth Century. The show features 30 prints that explore Mannerism, a movement that emerged in European art around 1510-20 and lasted until about 1600. Characterized by densely packed compositions and a focus on the human form, the style resulted in images that are deliberately challenging in both design and technique. One of the prints featured in the show is Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche, an important recent acquisition by the Italian female engraver Diana Mantuana (ca. 1547–1612), who is sometimes referred to as Diana Scultori. 

Categories
20th and 21st Century Design Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

John Rieben’s Homage to Josef Müller-Brockmann

Polar bear growling next to text that says Chicago has two great zoos
John Rieben (American, b. 1935), Chicago Has Two Great Zoos, 1965–1966. Photolithograph. 50 × 35 in. (127 × 88.9 cm). Lent by John Rieben.
Polar bear growling next to text that says Chicago has two great zoos
John Rieben (American, b. 1935), Chicago Has Two Great Zoos, 1965–1966. Photolithograph. 50 × 35 in. (127 × 88.9 cm). Lent by John Rieben.

The exhibition currently on view in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Bradley Family Gallery (through June 25) is How Posters Work. On Thursday, April 6, 2017, the museum hosted a program in conjunction with the exhibition called Local Luminaries: Poster Provocation. This gallery tour welcomed luminaries from the Milwaukee area to share their unique perspectives about the works in the show.

 John Rieben, graphic designer and professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, could not be present for the program due to inclement weather. We are happy to share his thoughts below:

I would like to spend a few minutes talking about my design hero and inspiration, Josef Müller-Brockmann. I think the greatest of the poster makers were [Toulouse] Lautrec, Cassandre, and Müller-Brockmann. Müller-Brockman, however, was more than a poster maker. He was the leading protagonist of a new way of visual communication, which became a worldwide movement that affected virtually every designer in the profession and every commercial message. It became known as Swiss Design.