Art Curatorial

From the Collection–Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss

Auguste Rodin (French 1840-1917), The Kiss (Paolo and Francesca), 1886. Painted plaster 34 x 20 1/2 x 23 1/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Will Ross in Memory of Her Husband (M1966.117). Photo by Larry Sanders.

There is no ignoring it: today is Valentine’s Day.

There is also no ignoring the fact that love and lust have inspired terrific artwork. Perhaps the best artwork, if you are a romantic like me. I’m obviously not the first in the blogosphere to notice this–last week a sweet “10 Best Art Kisses of All Time” article made the email/Facebook/blog rounds. And, raise your hand if you ever had Gustav Klimt’s 1907 The Kiss on a poster? Me too.

In the Museum’s collection, a classic work to single out that focuses on art and love is the plaster cast of Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss (Paolo and Francesca). When I revisited The Kiss, my first question was:

Who are Paolo and Francesca?

Art Art News

Packers, Steelers, and Impressionism

Gustave Caillebotte. Boating on the Yerres (Périssoires sur l'Yerres), 1877. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Milwaukee Journal Company, in honor of Miss Faye McBeath. Photo credit John R. Glembin

All of my friends and coworkers can attest to just how ridiculously excited I was after the Packers and the Steelers won the playoff games. Full confession, though–it’s not because I’m a football fan. Nah. It’s because I knew this meant my current workplace, Milwaukee Art Museum, of course, and my former workplace, the Carnegie Museum of Art (yep, I’m from the ‘Burgh), would be pitted against each other in the now-annual Super Bowl Art Bet.

Art Curatorial

Gothic Ivories Project

It’s always exciting to be contacted by colleagues at other museums about objects in the Museum’s permanent collection.  It helps us find out more information about what we have!

In early 2010, I was contacted by Dr. Catherine Yvard, the project manager for the Gothic Ivories Project at the Courtauld Institute in London.

The goal of the project was to produce an electronic catalogue of images and information about sculptures in ivory made in Europe between 1200 and 1530, as well as modern imitations.  This database, which required the cooperation of many different institutions around the world, would give researches a powerful tool.

The last comprehensive survey of Gothic ivories was published in 1924, so you can see that an updated catalogue is overdue!

Art Exhibitions

From the Collection–Claude Mellan’s “The Sudarium”

Claude Mellan, The Sudarium, 1649, printed ca. 1720. Engraving. Gift of the Hockerman Charitable Trust. Photo credit John R. Glembin
Claude Mellan, The Sudarium, 1649, printed ca. 1720. Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Hockerman Charitable Trust. Photo by John R. Glembin

So your family members (or out-of-town friends, or in-laws, take your pick!) are in town for the holidays, presents have been opened, feasts eaten, and now you need to entertain them. Naturally, you bring them to the Museum, knowing that you’ll be able to impress them with the architecture, a work of art in and of itself. But you want to impress them in the galleries, too; you want to show them something so incredible that it’ll even stun the know-it-all of the group.

Look no further than Claude Mellan’s Sudarium, currently on view in the Museum’s exhibition, Framing a Decade: Acquisitions of Prints and Drawings, 2001–2011. Skim through this blog post, impress your family with a mini-tour, and prepare to watch jaws drop. Guaranteed!

Art Curatorial

My Favorite Portrait Miniatures

I can’t believe that we’re already at the last week of the exhibition Intimate Images of Love and Loss: Portrait Miniatures.  Once the show closes this Sunday, October 31, these incredible, tiny masterpieces go back into Museum storage.

In a world before photography, portrait miniatures were the wallet photographs or their day. Made to be held, worn, and hung on the wall of the home as a type of “family album,” the small-scale portraits afford us an extremely personal glimpse into the past.  Here are a few of my favorites: