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Art Curatorial Library/Archives

“How much is that Braque in the window?”

Mrs. Harry L. Bradley

In response to a recent research request, I stumbled upon a Milwaukee Journal article titled “How Much Is That Braque in the Window?” Who could resist a title like that? I had to read on.

The article, dated January 4, 1959, follows the fascinating Bradley family and their passion for collecting art—a passion that began in 1950 with their first purchase. While traveling in New York for business, Mrs. Harry L. Bradley recalled, “I was walking along 57th St. … and suddenly there was a painting in a window that, for the first time, I thought I might buy. … It turned out to be a Braque and the price was a shocker.” The Bradleys talked it over and decided to go ahead with the purchase. And so, a world-class art collection was born.

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Art Curatorial

A Meal with Toussaint L’Ouverture

Possibly by the Sables Pottery (Medford, Massachusetts), Pitcher, ca. 1840-50. Stoneware with “Rockingham” style glaze. Chipstone Foundation.

It’s been an exciting few weeks for us at the Chipstone Foundation. First, I’d like to introduce Kate Smith, the newest member of the Chipstone team (welcome Kate!), who’s come all the way from England to study our collection.

A couple of weeks ago, we attended and participated in the American Ceramic Circle conference hosted at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Some of the highlights were: Luke Beckerdite’s (curator of Art in Clay) interesting talk on North Carolina earthenware; Rob Hunter’s (editor of Ceramics in America) entertaining and funny lecture on his top ten discoveries published in Ceramics in America; Mel Buchanan’s (Milwaukee Art Museum, assistant curator of 20th c. design) insight into Grete Marks’ ceramics; Ethan Lasser’s (Chipstone curator) new and innovative forms of curating; and Jon Prown (Chipstone’s director) lecture about a Toussaint L’Ouverture pitcher.

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Art Art News

Wafaa Bilal wants to do what?!

Wafaa Bilal's "Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet)" in the Milwaukee Art Museum's Impressionism gallery. Image from the artist's website http://www.wafaabilal.com.

I love that the Milwaukee Art Museum doesn’t shy away from controversial contemporary artists.  You might remember a work in the Museum’s Collection Galleries by Wafaa Bilal and Shawn Lawson that was temporarily installed in the Museum’s Impressionism Gallery in 2007: the Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet). Here is the Museum’s 2007 press release “Viewers Enter a Masterpiece in New Installation”. You can see photographs and a video of the Bilal piece on the artist’s website.

In the latest news, Mr. Bilal is now on to a new project that involves having a video camera surgically implanted into the back of his head!  You can read about it in the NYTimes.com ArtsBeat blog here and here in The Art Law Blog post.

Categories
Art Curatorial

From the Collection— Neapolitan Crèche (Nativity Scene)

It’s that time of year again!  The Museum’s Neapolitan crèche is on view in the galleries for the holiday season. You’ll find it in Gallery 4 of the Collection Galleries, with European art.

The origin of the popular Christmas tradition of re-staging the Nativity scene is usually credited to Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223. The custom reached its artistic height in eighteenth-century Naples.  Nobles and aristocrats vied to outdo each other in presenting theatrical crèche (or presepio) displays with elaborate figures clothed in luxurious costumes.  In addition to the Holy Family, the scenes would include angels, putti, shepherds, the Magi, and a host of barnyard animals.  The most elaborate scenes would include daily life in Naples, such as the market, resulting in a lively scene mixing the sacred and the secular that could fill entire rooms. 

Categories
Education

Thank You, Junior Docents

A thank you note from a 2009 Junior Docent.
A thank you note from a 2009 Junior Docent.

The Museum’s Junior Docents are 5th graders who spend three years studying the Museum’s Collection, then graduate from the program by doing a presentation on a single work of art. The program has been around since 1976, making it over thirty years old! (In fact, many of my friends here in the city, now in their mid-twenties, were Junior Docents when they were in fifth grade.) Every year around April and May, the Museum receives wonderful thank you notes from recent Junior Docent graduates. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites!