In 2016, the Milwaukee Art Museum partnered with Milwaukee Public Library to present Wisconsin Women Artists, an exhibition of paintings on view through September 2019 in the Central Library Art Gallery.
From cultural leaders to art educators, women have played a pivotal role in the development of the arts in the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. This selection of paintings by Wisconsin women artists spans more than one hundred years and highlights the breadth of their artistic contributions and output, from early realist landscapes and portraits, to abstract and modernist canvases.
Below are just a few of the works featured in the exhibition—stop by the library to see them all!
Susan Cressy’s Birds of Passage
Anna Louisa Miller’s October Storm of 1949
Ruth Grotenrath’s Sleeping Girl
Ruth Grotenrath’s Untitled
Wisconsin Women Artists is curated by Brandon Ruud, Abert Family Curator of American Art.
Female designers: shattering the glass ceiling, while creating glass masterpieces (among other innovative objects)
Though not often recognized as prominently as their male counterparts, female designers have had a significant impact on the world of design, using their creativity and inventiveness to push boundaries and marry the concepts of beauty and practicality. Read below to learn about some of the inspiring female designers featured in the Museum’s Design Galleries.
Marion Mahony Griffin was one of the first women to graduate with a degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She later worked as a chief designer for Frank Lloyd Wright for 14 years, not only making substantial contributions to Wright’s projects, but also receiving her own commissions.
Margarete Heymann-Löbenstein-Marks (known as Grete Marks) attended three semesters at the Bauhaus, the renowned German art, design, and architecture school, before leaving to establish her own ceramic manufactory. There, she created some of her best-known pieces, like the teapot pictured below.
Margaret De Patta developed an interest in metalwork in the mid-1930s, after struggling to find a well-designed wedding ring for her first marriage. Though she became very influential in the American jewelry movement, some of her earliest work includes the flatware pictured below.
Born in Budapest, Eva Zeisel studied ceramics at the Hungarian Royal Academy of Fine Arts and apprenticed at a local porcelain factory, later becoming the first woman admitted to the local pottery guild. She is now well-known for her beautifully playful, yet practical, tableware designs, including some in innovative materials like acrylic resin plastic seen below.
Elsa Tennhardt was one of the earliest female industrial designers in the United States. Working in the 1920s, Tennhardt was clearly influenced by Cubism, as shown by the geometric quality and triangular forms that make up the cocktail set she designed, pictured below. The set was featured in a 1928 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, but it did not credit Tennhardt.
Maija Grotell was a Finnish ceramicist who taught at the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1938-1966. Her pottery is simple in form, but often features decorative carvings or colorful, complex glazes on the exterior. One of her vases (pictured below) will be on display in the upcoming exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890-1980, opening May 15, 2020.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Milwaukee Art Museum is joining the National Museum of Women in the Arts in their effort to address the persisting gender imbalance in the art world and highlight more women artists. Though kicking off in March, these efforts will extend far beyond a single month, with special programming focused on female artists all year.
Through the #5WomenArtists campaign, the Museum has pledged to:
Organize an exhibition around the work of a woman artist
Acquire a new artwork by a woman artist for the Collection
Highlight more women artists on social media throughout the year.
In her first solo U.S. exhibition, Cwynar offers feminist perspectives on consumer culture, and reveals the ways in which commercial objects can stand in for larger systems of power. The exhibition, on view between March 8–August 4, 2019, in the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts, features three of the artist’s most recent films and a series of related photographs.
The Museum recently acquired Woman Crying #18 by Anne Collier. You can see it on view in the Contemporary Art Galleries.
In the past year, the Museum acquired works by many female artists, including Margery Austen Ryerson, Betty Gold, Deana Lawson, Howardena Pindell, and Alessandra Sanguinetti.
Follow the Milwaukee Art Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and look for our posts with #5WomenArtists. We will be sharing artworks made by women artists from our Collection, along with facts about the artists’ careers, artistic styles, and personal lives, this month and beyond.
Who run the [art] world? Historically, men. But, despite an enduring lack of public recognition and acclaim, our Collection shows that women artists have helped shape the art world throughout time, using their talents to not only reflect the world around them, but also challenge conventions, make bold statements, and speak to the female experience.
Below are just a few of the works by women artists currently on view. Stop by the Museum to see them in person, in celebration of Women’s History Month.
In conjunction with the exhibition The San Quentin Project, The Milwaukee Art Museum is collecting books for the incarcerated people in our community. The book drive continues through March 10, 2019, through the run of the exhibition The San Quentin Project: Nigel Poor
and the Men of San Quentin State Prison.
Books most needed:
LGBTQ nonfiction and fiction
How-tos on drawing and art making
Books in Spanish for native speakers
African American, Latinx, and Native American history or nonfiction
Contemporary fiction (especially urban fiction, crime fiction, and thrillers)
Mythology and alternative spirituality
Recent editions of textbooks
Books should be free of markings, in new or used condition. Softcover books
are preferred, but we are able to distribute hardcover books to institutions
that allow them.
Books can be donated in Windhover Hall at collection points near the admissions desks at the Milwaukee Art Museum.