Categories
Library/Archives

Kid Tested, Mother Approved

Sugar Specs box, 1958 Brooks Stevens Archive, Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Brooks Stevens Family and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Sugar Specs box, 1958
Brooks Stevens Archive, Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Brooks Stevens Family and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
For the last three years, a portion of my time has been devoted to digitizing a treasure trove of imagery found in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Brooks Stevens Archive.

Stevens, one of the best known industrial designers of the twentieth century, lived and worked right here in Milwaukee, his hometown. While you may not automatically recognize his name, you most certainly will recognize his work: the Oscar-Meyer Weinermobile, Harley Davidson Hydra-glide motorcycle, the Valkyrie coupe sedan, and the round mouth Holsum peanut butter jar–just to name a few! Companies of all sizes, audiences and design needs flocked to Stevens and his firm for over five decades.

Categories
Art Library/Archives

Art Books are Fun, Now Go Play!

Vasarely: Plastic Arts of the 20th Century, Vol. II. Prefatory remarks by Marcel Joray. Translated from French by Haakon Chevalier. Design and layout by the Artist Victor Vasarely. Published in Switzerland: Éditions Du Griffon Neuchâtel, 1970. Gift to the Milwaukee Art Museum Library of Mr. Robert V. Krikorian
Vasarely: Plastic Arts of the 20th Century, Vol. II. (Full captions below)
One of the most fascinating (and fun) books in the Museum’s rare book collection is a set of books by the artist Victor Vasarely.

Vasarely’s four-volume set Plastic Arts (1970), which features numerous color plates, foldouts and loose plastic overlays, not only exemplifies his unique approach to art, but equips the viewer with a finite set of colors and forms to play with and manipulate.

See our combinations below.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Library/Archives

Milwaukee’s Greatest! … Circa 1892

William J. Anderson and Julius Bleyer. Milwaukee's great industries: a compilation of facts concerning Milwaukee's commercial and manufacturing enterprises, its trade and commerce, and the advantages it offers to manufacturers seeking desirable locations for new or established industries. Milwaukee: Association for the Advancement of Milwaukee, 1892. Gift to the Milwaukee Art Museum Library by Don M. Kaminsky (1941-2009).
William J. Anderson and Julius Bleyer. Milwaukee’s great industries: a compilation of facts concerning Milwaukee’s commercial and manufacturing enterprises, its trade and commerce, and the advantages it offers to manufacturers seeking desirable locations for new or established industries. Milwaukee: Association for the Advancement of Milwaukee, 1892. Gift to the Milwaukee Art Museum Library by Don M. Kaminsky (1941-2009).

Recently, I had the opportunity to open an interesting book in the Museum’s Library entitled Milwaukee’s Great Industries (1892). This 352-page tome features a history of Milwaukee, articles on its various industries, schools, churches, trades, a variety of advertisements, and a list of city facts entitled “Milwaukee in a Nutshell.”

Did you know that in 1892, Milwaukee produced $135 million in goods; had the biggest iron foundry in the world; or produced fully one-third of all the tin-ware used in the United States? And yes, Milwaukee officially had the largest brewery and tannery in the world!

Last but certainly not least–did you know that, in 1892, Milwaukee also had “one of the finest art galleries in the land, and several of the best private art collections in the world”?

You had me at “one of the finest in the land.”

Categories
Behind the Scenes Library/Archives

The Heady Appeal of Soap Sculpture Competitions

Milwaukee Art Institute Bulletin. January 1, 1931. Vol. 4, No. 5, Page 9
Milwaukee Art Institute Bulletin. January 1, 1931. Vol. 4, No. 5, Page 9
While browsing the Museum’s 120+ year history and its more than 3,500 exhibitions, patterns reflecting shifts in cultural taste, local craft, and major world events, are apparent.

History also reveals patterns that sidestep the obvious cultural or historical narrative to stand on their own. One such pattern appears in the series of soap sculpture competitions held at the Museum (known then as the Milwaukee Art Institute) from 1927-1940. At least fifteen national and local soap-sculpture competitions and exhibitions were held over a tirteen-year period.

How did soap sculpting become such a popular part of local and national practice so quickly? The answer, it turns out, was no further away than my own grocery list.

Categories
Library/Archives

Museum Art Library – Used Book Sale March 1 – 4!

Art books to be sold to benefit the Milwaukee Art Museum library acquisition fund. Photo by the author.
Art books to be sold to benefit the George Peckham Miller Art Research Library’s book acquisition fund. Photo by the author.

It’s book sale time again! At the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Art Research Library Used Book Sale, you’ll find wonderful materials that are either duplicative or outside of our Library’s collecting area. And, of course, all proceeds benefit the Art Library’s book acquisition fund.

During the first days of March, discover bound treasures, used books on art and art history-related subjects from the Museum’s George Peckham Miller Art Research Library as well as select sale gifts, home and fashion accessories from the Museum Store.

Whether you are on the lookout for books on the paintings of Pablo Picasso, the sculpture of Gaston Lachaise or the drawings of Georgia O’Keeffe, we have books on your favorite artists. And don’t pass up the catalog on the Louvre – we sell it cheaper than a round-trip flight to Paris!

Hope you can join us at this wonderful annual opportunity to let your shopping habits benefit the Museum’s Art Research Library!!