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Art Curatorial

Questions of Provenance–An Introduction

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect, ca. 1900 (dated 1903). Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Bequest of Mrs. Albert T. Friedmann M1950.3. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect, ca. 1900 (dated 1903). Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Bequest of Mrs. Albert T. Friedmann M1950.3. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

One of the important areas of museum research is that of provenance, or the history of ownership.

Why is it important to know who owned an artwork? Well, for a number of reasons.

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Art

Jules Bastien-Lepage and the Newlyn School

Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848–1884), Le Père Jacques (Woodgatherer), 1881. Oil on canvas. Miwlaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Mrs. E. P. Allis and her daughters in memory of Edward Phelps Allis L102. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848–1884), Le Père Jacques (Woodgatherer), 1881. Oil on canvas. Miwlaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Mrs. E. P. Allis and her daughters in memory of Edward Phelps Allis L102. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

One of the things that I enjoy about being a curator is that I am always learning something.  Here is one example.

In the middle of August, the Cornish American Heritage Society held their “Gathering of the Cornish Cousins” in Milwaukee.  The event offered talks and workshops on all things Cornish, and one of the organizers had asked me to do a presentation on the artists of the Newlyn School.

I knew a little about Cornwall from visits to the southwestern part of Wisconsin, plus I loved pasties, but I knew nothing about art in Cornwall.  A quick search told me that they were a group of artists that, in the 1880s, formed an art colony in a Cornish fishing village called Newlyn.  So, I said, sure, why not?

And now, after a year of reading about the Newlyn artists and looking closely at the artwork produced by them, I’m so glad that I did!

Categories
Art Curatorial

German Tankards and Steins: Part 3—Tin-Glazed Earthenware

Probably Thuringia, Germany, Tankard, before 1754. Tin-glazed earthenware with polychrome decoration and pewter. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Albert Finkler M1937.26. Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Probably Thuringia, Germany, Tankard, before 1754. Tin-glazed earthenware with polychrome decoration and pewter. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Albert Finkler M1937.26. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

My post this month is about tin-glazed earthenware. Wait! Don’t run! I know that this is one kind of ceramic that makes the study of decorative arts confusing. So many names, so much technical jargon—it’s a headache! But stick with me for a moment, because I hope to explain it in a way that this not too complicated. The reward is another glimpse into the history art, trade, and technology.