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Art

Modern Lamps in Midcentury America

Zahara Schatz, manufactured by Heifetz Manufacturing Company, Table Lamp, 1951. Aluminum, enameled brass. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift from the George R. Kravis II Collection. Photo courtesy of Wright.
Zahara Schatz and Heifetz Manufacturing Company, Table Lamp, 1951. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift from the George R. Kravis II Collection. Photo courtesy of Wright.

In 1950, the Museum of Modern Art and New York-based Heifetz Manufacturing Company announced a design competition for floor and table lamps, offering cash prizes and the tantalizing promise that Heifetz would put at least three-quarters of the winning designs into production. [1] Ultimately, eight table lamps and two floor lamps were chosen for manufacture from over 600 entries. [2] These lamps were exhibited at MoMA from March 27–June 3, 1951 (alongside drawings, diagrams, photographs of the designs), published in Arts & Architecture magazine, and offered for sale across the United States at numerous stores, including Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. in Chicago and Macy’s in New York and San Francisco. [3] Now, two of these lamps are on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum as part of Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America (Sept 28, 2018-Jan 6, 2019).

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Introducing: Afrikando by Jaime Hayon

Jaime Hayon, designer, with Nason Moretti, producer, from left to right: Umi (Life), Saidah (Fortunate), Chausiki (Born at Night), Malawa (Blossoms), Sauda (Dark Beauty), Wambua (Rainy Season), and Abayomi (Brings Joy) from Afrikando, 2017. Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase with funds from the Jill and Jack Pelisek Endowment Fund, the Sanford J. Ettinger Memorial Fund, and by exchange, M2017.23.4-7. Photo by John R. Glembin.
Jaime Hayon, designer, with Nason Moretti, producer, from left to right: Umi (Life), Saidah (Fortunate), Chausiki (Born at Night), Malawa (Blossoms), Sauda (Dark Beauty), Wambua (Rainy Season), and Abayomi (Brings Joy) from Afrikando, 2017. Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase with funds from the Jill and Jack Pelisek Endowment Fund, the Sanford J. Ettinger Memorial Fund, and by exchange, M2017.23.4-7. Photo by John R. Glembin.

Among the many eye-catching objects in the exhibition Jaime Hayon: Technicolor, the delicate etching, dangling earrings, and dazzling glass surfaces of Afrikando are particularly alluring. This set of seven glass vessels is on view for the first time in the exhibition of work by Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon. Designed by Hayon expressly for the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent Collection, Afrikando fuses the tradition of glassblowing with the designer’s delightfully fresh contemporary sensibility.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Jaime Hayon: Technicolor

Installation view of Jaime Hayon: Technicolor, Milwaukee Art Museum, 2017. Photo by John R. Glembin.
Installation view of Jaime Hayon: Technicolor, Milwaukee Art Museum, 2017. Photo by John R. Glembin.

On view now through March 25th in the Bradley Family Gallery, Jaime Hayon: Technicolor brightens up wintertime in Milwaukee with a colorful splash of fun and fantasy. The energetic exhibition features work from two decades of the Spanish artist-designer’s career, including textiles, ceramics, glass, drawings, and playground equipment. These works represent a wide range of approaches to making, thinking, and viewing, while also remaining unified by a refreshing sense of playful whimsy.

Jaime Hayon trained in his native Madrid and in Paris before directing the design department at Fabrica, the Benetton-funded design and communication academy in Italy, for nearly a decade. In 2003, he left Fabrica to focus on his own studio practice. Hayon Studio now has offices in Italy, Spain, and Japan and is acclaimed worldwide.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: The Annuciation by Hendrick Goltzius

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 30) is Alluring Artifice: Mannerism in the Sixteenth Century. The show features 30 prints that explore Mannerism, a movement that emerged in European art around 1510–20 and lasted until about 1600. Characterized by densely packed compositions and a focus on the human form, the style resulted in images that are deliberately challenging in both design and technique. One of the prints featured in the show is The Annunciation, an engraving by the Dutch master printmaker Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617).

Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594. Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594. Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Over the years, people that I meet have asked me what I am working on, and I usually reply that I was reading a book on art history. At one point I said that to my mathematics teacher from high school. He turned his head quickly and said confidently, “Like about Da Vinci?”

“Yes,” I replied. “More or less.”

“Do you know what drives me nuts about those guys?”

“No, what drives a math teacher nuts about the Renaissance?”

“Why would anyone attempt to make art after the Renaissance?”

What he meant, of course, was that the Renaissance solved many of the technical difficulties of capturing reality in art. The artistic drive to find ways to show human anatomy, depth of space, and emotional expression had resulted in masterful paintings and sculpture.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Fighting Fauns by Franz von Stuck

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until April 2) is Gods and Heroes: Classical Mythology in European Prints. The show features 21 prints that cover the Renaissance through the early twentieth century and are by artists from Germany, Holland, France, Italy, and England. Each print offers insight into why European artists used the narratives of classical mythology. This is the third and final in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Franz von Stuck (German, 1863–1928), Fighting Fauns (Kämpfende Faune), 1889. Etching. Plate: 3 7/8 × 5 5/8 in. (9.84 × 14.29 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund M1995.294. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Franz von Stuck (German, 1863–1928), Fighting Fauns (Kämpfende Faune), 1889. Etching. Plate: 3 7/8 × 5 5/8 in. (9.84 × 14.29 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund M1995.294. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

Remember how French Rococo artist Jean Honoré Fragonard showed satyrs as lighthearted, family-orientated creatures?

Well, today we’re going to see how another artist used those creatures to represent something totally different.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection–The Mocking of Ceres

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until April 2) is Gods and Heroes: Classical Mythology in European Prints. The show features 21 prints that cover the Renaissance through the early twentieth century and are by artists from Germany, Holland, France, Italy, and England. Each print offers insight into why European artists used the narratives of classical mythology. This is the second in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Hendrik Goudt (Dutch, 1583–1648), after Adam Elsheimer (German, 1578–1610). The Mocking of Ceres, 1610, published 1633. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Friends of Art, from the collection of Philip and Dorothy Pearlstein M2000.136. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Hendrik Goudt (Dutch, 1583–1648), after Adam Elsheimer (German, 1578–1610). The Mocking of Ceres, 1610, published 1633. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Friends of Art, from the collection of Philip and Dorothy Pearlstein M2000.136. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

We’ve already seen how the ancient sculpture of Italy inspired a French Rococo artist in the four prints of the Bacchanals. In this post, we’ll explore another artist’s use of Classical mythology.

The Mocking of Ceres shows Ceres, the goddess of the earth and agriculture, taking a drink. She has been searching the world for her daughter Persephone, who was abducted by Pluto, the ruler of the underworld. Coming upon a small cottage, she asks an old woman for some water. Because Ceres is drinking quickly, a little boy mocks her for her greediness. Angry, Ceres throws her drink at the boy and turns him into a lizard.

This story is just one of the many told by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC–AD 17) in his work called Metamorphoses. The book-length poem, written in Latin, collected together Greek mythological stories that had some element of transformation as a plot point.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection— Bacchanals by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until April 2) is Gods and Heroes: Classical Mythology in European Prints. The show features 21 prints that cover the Renaissance through the early twentieth century and are by artists from Germany, Holland, France, Italy, and England. Each print offers insight into why European artists used the narratives of classical mythology. This is the first in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732–1806), Nymph Supported by Two Satyrs, from the series Bacchanals, 1763. Etching. Plate and sheet: 5 7/16 × 8 1/8 in. (13.81 × 20.64 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the DASS Fund M2010.65.1. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732–1806), Nymph Supported by Two Satyrs, from the series Bacchanals, 1763. Etching. Plate and sheet: 5 7/16 × 8 1/8 in. (13.81 × 20.64 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the DASS Fund M2010.65.1. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

For most visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum, the French artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) is known as a painter. He painted The Shepherdess (pictured below), which is the focal point of our Rococo gallery.

And it is the centerpiece of this gallery for good reason! It is a perfect example of the elegant and amorous style so popular in eighteenth century France.

A beautiful young lady, dressed in a fashionable and revealing costume (we can see her ankles!), sits in the countryside awaiting her lover, who enters the scene over the distant hill. The composition is full of delicate curlicues and pastel colors, creating a frothy vision of the pastoral ideal.

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Art Curatorial 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.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Opening Soon: Rineke Dijkstra: Rehearsals

Rineke Dijkstra, Marianna (The Fairy Doll), 2014. One-channel HD video installation, surround sound; 19 min. 13 sec., looped. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. © Rineke Dijkstra.
Rineke Dijkstra, Marianna (The Fairy Doll), 2014. One-channel HD video installation, surround sound; 19 min. 13 sec., looped. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. © Rineke Dijkstra.

Rineke Dijkstra: Rehearsals opens this Friday, September 9, in the Herzfeld Center for Media Arts.

Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra (b. 1959) is interested in moments of transition, particularly adolescence. In the upcoming exhibition, young athletes are the focus: rhythmic gymnasts in The Gymschool, St. Petersburg (2014) and a ballerina in Marianna (The Fairy Doll) (2014).

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

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.