Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

Questions of Provenance: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Three Cuirassiers, Part 2

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), Three Cuirassiers, 1879. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1977.149. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), Three Cuirassiers, 1879. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1977.149. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

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 first in a series of blog posts that will explore the provenance of selected artworks in the collection and how they came to be here.

Last summer, we took a closer look at a little gem of a painting in the European collection: Three Cuirassiers by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901). It is a rare early oil painting by the great Post-Impressionist artist, done when Lautrec was only fourteen! So, how did the painting come to be in Wisconsin, at the Milwaukee Art Museum? Let’s take a closer look at the provenance trail.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Three Cuirassiers, Part 1

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), Three Cuirassiers, 1879. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1977.149. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), Three Cuirassiers, 1879. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1977.149. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

There is so much commentary surrounding the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901) and his ‘celebrity’. Certainly, with just at the mention of his name, shimmering glimpses of Parisian nightlife in come to mind. But what would surprise most, I think, is that he developed from an aristocratic youth into a bohemian artist whose images are anything but blue-blooded.

We can get a little peek into the early life of one of the best known painters of the post-Impressionist period with Three Cuirassiers (left), dated 1879. This small painting—in fact, you might have missed it!—is on display in the newly reopened European Galleries.

Categories
Art Collection Modern

Bradley Collection Celebrates 40th Anniversary!

Older woman standing next to a framed work of art
Mrs. Harry L. Bradley standing standing her “Girl in a Straw Hat” on exhibition in “Pierre Bonnard” exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 7-November 29, 1964.

This year the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Mrs. Harry L. Bradley Collection. Upon its donation in 1975, the collection elevated the status of the Milwaukee Art Museum from a local art museum to a museum with a world-class collection.

The collection contains an assortment of European and American paintings, prints, watercolors, and sculptures from the late nineteenth century to the early 1970s, including works by Braque, Picasso, and Kandinsky, to name a few. During my time at the Museum I had the chance to attend a Member lecture with Barbara Brown Lee, a longtime educator at the Museum and personal friend of Mrs. Bradley, to learn more about the collection and the woman behind it.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions

From the Collection–Girl in Straw Hat (Femme au Chapeau Rouge) by Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947), Girl in Straw Hat (Femme au Chapeau Rouge), 1903. Oil on canvas; 15 1/8 x 17 5/8 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1958.13. Photo credit P. Richard Eells. ©2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947), Girl in Straw Hat (Femme au Chapeau Rouge), 1903. Oil on canvas; 15 1/8 x 17 5/8 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1958.13. Photo credit P. Richard Eells. ©2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

The Museum’s current exhibition Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and his Contemporaries features a number of posters by Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947)—including the fantastic France-Champagne lithograph, a work that inspired the master Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to make ground-breaking posters.

Did you know that the Museum’s Permanent Collection has two paintings by Bonnard?

The paintings are gorgeous, and can be found on the upper level in the Bradley Collection Galleries.

One of the two paintings, Girl in Straw Hat (Femme au Chapeau Rouge), has long been one of my personal favorite artworks.  I suspect that Girl in Straw Hat was also one of Mrs. Bradley’s favorites, and there is good reason why.

Categories
Art Education

Slow Art–Kirchner’s Street at Schöneberg City Park

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street at Schöneberg City Park, 1912-13. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley. Photo credit Larry Sanders
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street at Schöneberg City Park, 1912-13. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley. Photo by Larry Sanders.

Have you ever looked at a work of art for a half-hour straight?

In college, one of my favorite art history professors required that we spend at least a half-hour sitting in front of the work of art we were researching and sketch it, getting intimate with the figures, setting, lines and brushstrokes within it, and immersing ourselves in the choices the artist made. While looking for forty-five minutes at Kirchner’s Street at Schöneberg City Park, that was exactly what I did.

Categories
Art Curatorial Library/Archives

“How much is that Braque in the window?”

Mrs. Harry L. Bradley

In response to a recent research request, I stumbled upon a Milwaukee Journal article titled “How Much Is That Braque in the Window?” Who could resist a title like that? I had to read on.

The article, dated January 4, 1959, follows the fascinating Bradley family and their passion for collecting art—a passion that began in 1950 with their first purchase. While traveling in New York for business, Mrs. Harry L. Bradley recalled, “I was walking along 57th St. … and suddenly there was a painting in a window that, for the first time, I thought I might buy. … It turned out to be a Braque and the price was a shocker.” The Bradleys talked it over and decided to go ahead with the purchase. And so, a world-class art collection was born.

Categories
Education

Painting-ish

Milton Resnick, East Is the Place, 1959. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Wise, New York. Photo credit John Nienhuis. © Estate of Milton Resnick.
Milton Resnick, East Is the Place, 1959. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Wise, New York. Photo credit John Nienhuis. © Estate of Milton Resnick.
I recently received an email from a great cheerleader for art: “My four-year-old granddaughter is very proud of her colorful, free-spirited artwork.  As a result she was devastated when her five-year-old friend told her that her work is just a bunch of scribbles and brush strokes.  I would greatly appreciate your recommendation for two to three specific modern art paintings I can show her that will demonstrate the appeal of modern art.  She will be visiting us and I want our visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum to be one she will really enjoy.”

Categories
Art

“Well-behaved women seldom make history”

In the spirit of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s famous quote, I would like to introduce you to one of the most notorious women in the Museum – the Marchesa Luisa Casati.  According to her biographers, the Marchesa is the most depicted woman in art history after Madonna, Eve, and Helen of Troy.  It doesn’t hurt to mention that she commissioned as many artists as she could for a huge gallery of her own portraits in her lavish, international party center of a house.