American Epics on the Silver Screen: Classic Clips

lg1_002457American artist Thomas Hart Benton continues to be praised for his ability to translate the dynamism of a major motion picture onto a two-dimensional canvas. Having worked directly on film sets, Benton captured the entire production process and behind-the-scenes culture of Hollywood. To him, the movie industry was “very much American” and significantly focused on real-world themes such as war and the quest to achieve the “American dream.”

To accompany the Museum’s feature exhibition of Benton’s work, American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood, the Museum is screening four of the films that inspired the artist’s vibrant, dramatized pieces.

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Exhibitions | Tagged , | 1 Comment

From the Collection: Anders Zorn Captures Modern Life

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher. Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, this is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time. This is the third in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Girl With A Cigarette II, 1891. Etching. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.131. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Girl With A Cigarette II, 1891. Etching. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.131. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Paris in the 1880’s was like no other place.

Citizens from all over France joined with immigrants from all over the world.  Some flocked there to take advantage of new opportunities in industry, others to experience an avant-garde culture.  The population more than doubled in the second half of the nineteenth century.

New entertainment venues popped up to cater to the masses.  Circuses, dance halls, cabarets, theaters, operas, museums (including the first wax museum in Paris) added to the excitement of the city.

Meanwhile, Napoleon III, the Emperor of France, hired an urban planner who changed the entire look of the city.  A warren of medieval buildings was transformed into a modern city with wide boulevards.

Paris was experiencing the growth of a modern urban center–and all the problems and benefits of that growth.  It is probably not surprising that visual artists found inspiration with new subject matter and developed innovative ways to depict it.

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Curatorial, Exhibitions | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

From the Collection: Anders Zorn’s Portrait Prints

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher.  Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, the exhibition is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time.  This is the second in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), King Oscar II (or Oscar II), 1898. Etching and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Greene M1979.23. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), King Oscar II (or Oscar II), 1898. Etching and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Greene M1979.23. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Last time, we were introduced to career of Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920). In this post, we’ll consider a few more of his portrait prints.

In the Milwaukee Art Museum exhibition, there are portraits of two members of the Swedish royal family: the King of Sweden, Oscar II (left), and the Crown-Princess Margaret (below), who was married to Gustav Adolf, the grandson of King Oscar. Margaret herself was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England.

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Curatorial, Exhibitions | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

From the Collection: Anders Zorn and Etching

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-EtcherFeaturing all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, the exhibition is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time.  This is the first in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Zorn and his Wife, 1890. Etching, possibly drypoint, and graphite. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.141. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Zorn and his Wife, 1890. Etching, possibly drypoint, and graphite. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.141. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

Did you know that Anders Zorn might be the most famous artist you’ve never heard of?

During his career, which spanned about 20 years before and 20 years after 1900, Zorn was in high demand for painted portrait commissions in Europe and in the U.S.  In fact, he was in direct competition with John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), one of the best known portrait painters at the turn of the twentieth century.

So, who was Anders Zorn?

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Curatorial, Exhibitions | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

From the Collection: In the Catskills by Asher Brown Durand

A number of the artists featured in the special exhibition Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School can also be found in the galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the fourth and final in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Asher Brown Durand (American, 1796–1886), In The Catskills, 1857. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L105. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

Asher Brown Durand (American, 1796–1886), In The Catskills, 1857. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L105. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

Although they depicted the American landscape, Hudson River School painters found inspiration in Europe.

Traveling to France or Italy to study Old Masters was a common tradition, even for American artists looking to assert their cultural identity, and they adapted European conventions to a uniquely American vision.

For this blog post, we will use the painting In the Catskills by Asher Brown Durand (American, 1796-1886) as a case study, showing the influence of European artistic traditions.

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Curatorial, Exhibitions | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments