Categories
Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

Questions of Provenance–Stories Behind the Names

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s current feature exhibition, Milwaukee Collects, includes more than 100 objects from nearly 50 private collections in the Greater Milwaukee area. It offers an opportunity to see treasures that are typically not on public view. At the same time, it reminds us that the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection is part of a long tradition of collecting in the community. This is the third in a series of blog posts that will explore the provenance of selected artworks in the collection and how they came to be here.

Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch (Dutch, 1824–1903), Low Tide at Zeeland, Scheveningen, ca. 1900. Oil on wood panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Samuel O. Buckner Collection M1919.28. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch (Dutch, 1824–1903), Low Tide at Zeeland, Scheveningen, ca. 1900. Oil on wood panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Samuel O. Buckner Collection M1919.28. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

As we’ve explored in the past, in many ways the collection of any museum is the result of the interests of its donors. Here at the Milwaukee Art Museum, we have outstanding European decorative arts from the Renaissance and Baroque periods due to Richard and Erna Flagg. We can boast of one of the deepest collections of nineteenth century German art in the country because of the generosity of René von Schleinitz. And with the gift from Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley, we have a world-class collection of twentieth century art.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at a few of the local collectors of earlier generations that you probably don’t know. Their story is the story of Milwaukee.

And this is just the whirwind tour—some of these historical donors warrant a longer post in the future!

We will start with Samuel O. Buckner (1862–1945), who was instrumental to the art community of early twentieth century Milwaukee. Buckner is sometimes called “the father of the Milwaukee Art Institute,” since he was president of this predecessor institution of the Milwaukee Art Museum from 1910–1926. He even gave the Institute its first painting!

Categories
American Art Collection Curatorial

From the Collection: Paintings by George Inness

George Inness (American, 1825–1894), Autumn by the Sea, 1875. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Bequest of Catherine Jean Quirk M1989.61. Photo credit: John Glembin
George Inness (American, 1825–1894), Autumn by the Sea, 1875. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Bequest of Catherine Jean Quirk M1989.61. Photo credit: John Glembin

George Inness (1825-1894), one of the most celebrated artists of the Hudson River School, captured the beauty of the American landscape in his paintings.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is lucky enough to have two paintings by Inness on display: Autumn by the Sea and Sunset in Georgia. I will use these works to show how Inness mastered the themes of the Hudson River School painters, but made them his own.

Categories
American Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

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.

Categories
American Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Frederick Edwin Church and Charles De Wolf Brownell

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 third in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900), A Passing Shower, 1860. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc. L107. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900), A Passing Shower, 1860. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc. L107. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

The first post in this series focused on Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School. Today we will highlight Cole’s one and only pupil, Fredrick Edwin Church (American, 1826-1900), as well as Church’s very good friend, Charles De Wolf Brownell (American, 1822-1909).

Categories
American Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Albert Bierstadt’s Wind River Mountains, Nebraska Territory

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 second in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Albert Bierstadt (American, b. Germany, 1830–1902), Wind River Mountains, Nebraska Territory, 1862. Oil on board. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Purchase L1897.3. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Albert Bierstadt (American, b. Germany, 1830–1902), Wind River Mountains, Nebraska Territory, 1862. Oil on board. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Purchase L1897.3. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

The special exhibition Nature and the American Vision looks at the paintings of the Hudson River School. This week, let’s take a closer look at one of the paintings by this group of artists on view in the American galleries and see how it relates to scientific study.

Today we see science and art as two separate forms of study, but for much of history, they were intertwined. The painters of the Hudson River School worked during the nineteenth century, when science and the humanities had more fluidity.

Categories
American Art Collection

From the Collection: Thomas Cole’s Storm in the Wilderness

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 first a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Often called the Founder of the Hudson River School, Thomas Cole (1801–1848) holds an important place in the development of American landscape painting. Cole’s Storm in the Wilderness, from the Layton Art Collection and on view in the exhibition, is a good example of the power of his work.

Let’s start with some background. Since the Renaissance, some subjects were considered less important than others. At the top of this hierarchy were historical paintings, which depicted critical events from ancient mythology, politics, and religion. Below that were portraits and genre scenes that captured important persons and contemporary society. And at the very bottom was landscape. Why was that? Landscapes were seen as an inadequate subject for expressing human emotions and societal values.

Categories
Art News Museum Store

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!

 

Categories
Art Curatorial Exhibitions

30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XXVIII – XXX

Karin Ormson and Valerie Curry visit the Museum on August 28, 2013. Photo by the author.
Karin Ormson and Valerie Curry. Photo by the author.

30 Encounters with 30 Americans is a ten week blog series showcasing the perspectives of thirty visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s 30 Americans exhibition (June 14 – September 8, 2013).

Read about the experiences of these visitors–from couples to families, from students to scholars–and see how their thoughts compare to your own. What are visitors saying about this dynamic exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970?

As the 30 Americans exhibition draws to a close, so too does the 30 Encounters with 30 Americans blog series.  Since July, it has been a pleasure to engage with this project and have the opportunity to speak with a variety of visitors on their perceptions of selected artworks from the Rubell Family Collection.  Sunday, September 8th is the final day to visit 30 Americans at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  As the exhibition continues its tour at the Frist Center for Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee on October 11th, may all those who view 30 Americans spark further conversations.

Categories
Art Curatorial Exhibitions

30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XXV – XXVII

Sarah Bare and James Huber visit the Museum on August 28, 2013. Photo by the author.
Sarah Bare and James Huber. Photo by the author.

30 Encounters with 30 Americans is a ten week blog series showcasing the perspectives of thirty visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s 30 Americans exhibition (June 14 – September 8, 2013).

Read about the experiences of these visitors–from couples to families, from students to scholars–and see how their thoughts compare to your own. What are visitors saying about this dynamic exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970?

Conversations XXV-XXVII discuss how art, whether it is walked over or walked around, and history can intertwine to portray influential messages about society.

Categories
Art Curatorial Exhibitions

30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XXII – XXIV

Tyree, Marcus, and Yulonda Anderson visit the Museum on August 30, 2013. Photo by the author.
Tyree, Marcus, and Yulonda Anderson. Photo by the author.

30 Encounters with 30 Americans is a ten week blog series showcasing the perspectives of thirty visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s 30 Americans exhibition (June 14 – September 8, 2013).

Read about the experiences of these visitors–from couples to families, from students to scholars–and see how their thoughts compare to your own. What are visitors saying about this dynamic exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970?

The 30 Americans exhibition looks to the past while creating a brighter future in the mind’s of this week’s 30 Encounters with 30 Americans participants.