Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection–“Meissen in Winter” by Ernst Ferdinand Oehme

Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (German, 1797–1855), Meissen in Winter, 1854. Oil on canvas; 27 x 23 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.105. Photo credit P. Richard Eells.
Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (German, 1797–1855), Meissen in Winter, 1854. Detail. Oil on canvas; 27 x 23 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.105. Photo credit P. Richard Eells.

[We hope that you enjoy this re-posted 2012 blog post in honor of the holiday season! ]

Speaking of the holidays, one of my favorite paintings in the Museum Collection is Meissen in Winter by German artist Ernst Ferdinand Oehme. Oehme (pronounced EHR-ma) shows us a snowy street in the German town, with the church tower silhouetted against the dusky sky, and a single star shining brightly.

I’ve seen many evenings like this in Wisconsin!

A few inhabitants have braved the cold, crisp air in this Meissen scene: a couple is talking a walk, a man makes his way up the hill, and a gentleman in the foreground has stopped to gaze up at a brightly lit bay window with a cheerfully decorated Christmas tree shown in the detail at left.

The holiday scene is subtle, quiet and calm—and clearly chilly—but I think that the happy glow of that window and the hopeful promise of the single star in the darkening sky are reassuring in what could be a desolate winter scene.

I see hope in that star, and spirit.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection: Monumental Orientalist Vase

Designed by Louis-Constant Sévin (French, 1821–1881) and Manufactured by Firm of F. Barbedienne (French, 1858–1955), Monumental Ormolu-Mounted Enamel Vase, 1867. Copper, gilt bronze, and cloisonné enamel. 30 1/2 × 12 in. (77.47 × 30.48 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from Avis Martin Heller in honor of the Fine Arts Society and the Fine Arts Society in memory of Jane and Donald Doud M2014.10. Photo credit: Photograph courtesy of H. Blairman & Sons Ltd, London.
Designed by Louis-Constant Sévin (French, 1821–1881) and Manufactured by Firm of F. Barbedienne (French, 1858–1955), Monumental Ormolu-Mounted Enamel Vase, 1867. Copper, gilt bronze, and cloisonné enamel. 30 1/2 × 12 in. (77.47 × 30.48 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from Avis Martin Heller in honor of the Fine Arts Society and the Fine Arts Society in memory of Jane and Donald Doud M2014.10. Photo credit: Photograph courtesy of H. Blairman & Sons Ltd, London.

You may  have noticed that some of our past “From the Collection” posts have highlighted new acquisitions.  Just in the last year we explored a pair of paintings by Alexandre Cabanel and a painting by Franz Ittenbach.

When museum curators buy new artwork for the collection, they often look for things that will make a strength of the collection stronger or fill a gap in an important story we want to tell.

One recent acquisition that does both of these things is a Monumental Ormolu-Mounted Enamel Vase created in France in 1867.

The vase, designed by Louis-Constant Sévin (French, 1821–1881), brings together different elements from what he would have considered the exotic Orient. Today this is known as the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Greece, and Asia.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection: A Pair of Paintings by Alexandre Cabanel

Alexandre Cabanel (French, 1823–1889), Saint Monica in a Landscape, 1845. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from Avis Martin Heller in honor of the Fine Arts Society and funds from the Fine Arts Society M2014.9 Photo credit: Jack Kilgore & Co, Inc.
Alexandre Cabanel (French, 1823–1889), Saint Monica in a Landscape, 1845. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from Avis Martin Heller in honor of the Fine Arts Society and funds from the Fine Arts Society M2014.9 Photo credit: Jack Kilgore & Co, Inc.

What makes an artist influential? Most would say it the art he or she creates, because most likely that artwork was created in some sort of special way. And although that is true, I would argue that that is only part of the story. Let me show you what I mean.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions

Questions of Provenance: William and Gertrude Schuchardt

Installation of Corot, Daubigny, Miller: Visions of France. Photo credit: the author.
Installation of Corot, Daubigny, Miller: Visions of France. Photo credit: the author.

In the past, in posts related to provenance (or the history of an artwork, such as who has owned it and where it’s been), we’ve talked a little bit about credit lines.  Credit lines are the part of an object label that tells you how the Milwaukee Art Museum acquired that artwork.  The most common credit lines are gifts or bequests, but we also purchase artwork with funds given to us for that reason.

Today, I want to explore the story behind a more unusual credit line.

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 Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: The Nudes of Anders Zorn

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher. Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, this is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time. This is the fifth and final in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Dal River (Dalälven), 1919. Etching, roulette, drypoint, and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Lindsay Hoben M1966.111. Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Dal River (Dalälven), 1919. Etching, roulette, drypoint, and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Lindsay Hoben M1966.111. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

This week, we’ll wrap up our consideration of the prints of Anders Zorn with a look at one of his favorite subjects: the female nude.

In 1888, Zorn became one of the first artists to paint nude women outdoors in a publicly accessible setting. Before this time, if an artist wanted to show a nude out-of-doors, the proper thing was to sketch or paint the outdoor setting and then add the nude from a model later in the privacy of the studio.

How different was Zorn’s use of the female nude? Just compare the 1875 painting Nymph of the Hunt with Fauns by Swedish artist Julius Kronberg (1850–1921) with Zorn’s copy in watercolor, Love Nymph from 1885, both in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: Anders Zorn Returns to Sweden

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher. Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, this is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time. This is the fourth in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Skerikulla, 1912. Etching and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.140. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Skerikulla, 1912. Etching and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.140. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

So far, in our most recent series of posts, we have seen that, in the 1880’s, the lively cultural scene in newly urban Paris not only inspired Anders Zorn to adopt a modern artistic sensibility but also provided him with modern subject matter. In 1896, however, Zorn and his wife decided to move their permanent residence from Paris back to their native Sweden.

The Zorns built their house in Swedish folk style and decorated it both with local artwork and treasures from their travels. In addition, they gradually moved historical timber buildings from around the area to the property, eventually accumulating about 40, including Sweden’s oldest secular timber building from 1237. A little ways from the house, Zorn established his studio in a farm cottage that was called Gopsmor.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: Anders Zorn Captures Modern Life

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher. Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, this is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time. This is the third in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Girl With A Cigarette II, 1891. Etching. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.131. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Girl With A Cigarette II, 1891. Etching. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.131. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Paris in the 1880’s was like no other place.

Citizens from all over France joined with immigrants from all over the world.  Some flocked there to take advantage of new opportunities in industry, others to experience an avant-garde culture.  The population more than doubled in the second half of the nineteenth century.

New entertainment venues popped up to cater to the masses.  Circuses, dance halls, cabarets, theaters, operas, museums (including the first wax museum in Paris) added to the excitement of the city.

Meanwhile, Napoleon III, the Emperor of France, hired an urban planner who changed the entire look of the city.  A warren of medieval buildings was transformed into a modern city with wide boulevards.

Paris was experiencing the growth of a modern urban center–and all the problems and benefits of that growth.  It is probably not surprising that visual artists found inspiration with new subject matter and developed innovative ways to depict it.

Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920) made Paris his home between 1886 and 1896. Accordingly, his artistic output during this period shows the influence of the modern city around him.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: Anders Zorn’s Portrait Prints

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher.  Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, the exhibition is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time.  This is the second in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), King Oscar II (or Oscar II), 1898. Etching and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Greene M1979.23. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), King Oscar II (or Oscar II), 1898. Etching and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Greene M1979.23. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Last time, we were introduced to career of Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920). In this post, we’ll consider a few more of his portrait prints.

In the Milwaukee Art Museum exhibition, there are portraits of two members of the Swedish royal family: the King of Sweden, Oscar II (left), and the Crown-Princess Margaret (below), who was married to Gustav Adolf, the grandson of King Oscar. Margaret herself was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England.

Oscar II was a fan of Zorn’s from the artist’s earliest days, when the king tried to purchase a watercolor from him at an exhibition at the Stockholm Academy. The king eventually commissioned some painted portraits from Zorn. Our portrait print is not based upon any of those paintings. It shows the king at leisure, enjoying his yacht—he is even wearing a captain’s hat. It seems appropriate to use the intimate scale of an etching to capture the head of state.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: Anders Zorn and Etching

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-EtcherFeaturing all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, the exhibition is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time.  This is the first in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Zorn and his Wife, 1890. Etching, possibly drypoint, and graphite. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.141. Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Zorn and his Wife, 1890. Etching, possibly drypoint, and graphite. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.141. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

Did you know that Anders Zorn might be the most famous artist you’ve never heard of?

During his career, which spanned about 20 years before and 20 years after 1900, Zorn was in high demand for painted portrait commissions in Europe and in the U.S.  In fact, he was in direct competition with John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), one of the best known portrait painters at the turn of the twentieth century.

So, who was Anders Zorn?

Anders Zorn was born in 1860, the son of a German brewer and one of his Swedish employees.  His parents were not married, and Zorn’s father was not very involved in his son’s life, although he did leave Zorn a small inheritance when he died.