From the Collection–Mother of the World by Franz Ittenbach

Franz Ittenbach (German, 1813–1879), Mother of the World, 1872. Oil on panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund and with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien.

Franz Ittenbach (German, 1813–1879), Mother of the World, 1872. Oil on panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund and with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien.

From the glittery gold background to the touching depiction of the Madonna and child, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s new acquisition Mother of the World by Franz Ittenbach (German, 1813–1879) is a perfect subject for our blog post during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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Questions of Provenance—Doubting Thomas by Adriaen van der Werff, Part 1

Adriaen van der Werff (Dutch, 1659–1722). Doubting Thomas (The Incredulity of St. Thomas), 1710. Oil on wood panel. 24 15/16 × 18 15/16 in. (63.34 × 48.1 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. V. Krikorian M1971.60. Photo credit: P. Richard Eells.

Adriaen van der Werff (Dutch, 1659–1722). Doubting Thomas (The Incredulity of St. Thomas), 1710. Oil on wood panel. 24 15/16 × 18 15/16 in. (63.34 × 48.1 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. V. Krikorian M1971.60. Photo credit: P. Richard Eells.

Remember in an earlier post when I said that the study of provenance can tell us a lot about the history of taste? We’ll see how by taking a closer look at one of the paintings in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The painting is Doubting Thomas—sometimes called The Incredulity of St. Thomas—by Dutch artist Adriaen van der Werff (1659–1722).

Adriaen van der Werff started his career by painting in the style called Fijnschilder, which literally means “Fine School”. In Fine School painting, the goal was to create a painting that is so smooth and pristine that individual brushstrokes could not be seen. Often the artworks were small and filled with details that required close looking and layers of symbolism. A perfect example is our A Young Woman at a Window with a Parrot and a Birdcage, which you can see bellow (and which will be discussed in a future blog post!).

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Artful Holiday Gifts Galore

Snowy Afternoon OrnamentThe secret is out: museum stores are the savviest shopping destination for unique gifts. Most shopping malls and department stores are so much of the same—let us help you find thoughtful gifts that stand out from the crowd!

The crown jewel in the Museum Store’s gift offerings this year is the wintry, yet vibrant Snowy Afternoon ornament  designed by Milwaukee illustrator Christiane Grauert. This artful ornament celebrates the historic renovation of the Art Museum against a backdrop of the Milwaukee lakefront cityscape…and if you visit the Store on December 3rd  (also a Member Double Discount Day), Grauert will even personalize your ornaments for truly one-of-kind gift-giving.

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Sunny Does Milwaukee

Sunny at Stone Creek CoffeeMAM’s furriest friend, Sunny, from Alex Katz’s popular painting, has emBARKed on a staycation while the Museum undergoes renovations.

Read on to follow his adventure around the Milwaukee area. Then see him again at the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Community Free Day: Fresh Family Fun on Sunday, December 6! Admission to this event is FREE, thanks to Kohl’s!

 

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Questions of Provenance—The Marriage Trap by Jan Victors, Part 4

Jan Victors (Dutch, 1619–after 1676), The Marriage Trap, ca. 1640–60. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Richard and Erna Flagg M1974.233. Photo credit: John Nienhuis, Dedra Walls.

Jan Victors (Dutch, 1619–after 1676), The Marriage Trap, ca. 1640–60. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Richard and Erna Flagg M1974.233. Photo credit: John Nienhuis, Dedra Walls.

With The Marriage Trap as an example, we have seen that it is an immense task to do provenance research for all paintings that were probably in Europe from 1933 through 1945! Museums, however, have accepted this ongoing project as an important part of the stewardship of their collections.

In this particular instance, at least we know that our painting was processed through the appropriate channels after World War II. It was returned to Austria for restitution to its owner; we do not know who ended up with the painting. All we can do is be transparent about the provenance and hope more information comes to light in the future.

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