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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.

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Art Exhibitions

American Epics on the Silver Screen: Classic Clips

lg1_002457American artist Thomas Hart Benton continues to be praised for his ability to translate the dynamism of a major motion picture onto a two-dimensional canvas. Having worked directly on film sets, Benton captured the entire production process and behind-the-scenes culture of Hollywood. To him, the movie industry was “very much American” and significantly focused on real-world themes such as war and the quest to achieve the “American dream.”

To accompany the Museum’s feature exhibition of Benton’s work, American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood, the Museum is screening four of the films that inspired the artist’s vibrant, dramatized pieces.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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American Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: In the Catskills by Asher Brown Durand

A number of the artists featured in the special exhibition Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School can also be found in the galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the fourth and final in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Asher Brown Durand (American, 1796–1886), In The Catskills, 1857. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L105. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Asher Brown Durand (American, 1796–1886), In The Catskills, 1857. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L105. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

Although they depicted the American landscape, Hudson River School painters found inspiration in Europe.

Traveling to France or Italy to study Old Masters was a common tradition, even for American artists looking to assert their cultural identity, and they adapted European conventions to a uniquely American vision.

For this blog post, we will use the painting In the Catskills by Asher Brown Durand (American, 1796-1886) as a case study, showing the influence of European artistic traditions.

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American Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Frederick Edwin Church and Charles De Wolf Brownell

A number of the artists featured in the special exhibition Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School can also be found in the galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the third in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900), A Passing Shower, 1860. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc. L107. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900), A Passing Shower, 1860. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc. L107. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

The first post in this series focused on Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School. Today we will highlight Cole’s one and only pupil, Fredrick Edwin Church (American, 1826-1900), as well as Church’s very good friend, Charles De Wolf Brownell (American, 1822-1909).

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American Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Albert Bierstadt’s Wind River Mountains, Nebraska Territory

A number of the artists featured in the special exhibition Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School can also be found in the galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the second in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Albert Bierstadt (American, b. Germany, 1830–1902), Wind River Mountains, Nebraska Territory, 1862. Oil on board. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Purchase L1897.3. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.
Albert Bierstadt (American, b. Germany, 1830–1902), Wind River Mountains, Nebraska Territory, 1862. Oil on board. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Purchase L1897.3. Photo credit: Larry Sanders.

The special exhibition Nature and the American Vision looks at the paintings of the Hudson River School. This week, let’s take a closer look at one of the paintings by this group of artists on view in the American galleries and see how it relates to scientific study.

Today we see science and art as two separate forms of study, but for much of history, they were intertwined. The painters of the Hudson River School worked during the nineteenth century, when science and the humanities had more fluidity.

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American Art Collection

From the Collection: Thomas Cole’s Storm in the Wilderness

A number of the artists featured in the special exhibition Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School can also be found in the galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the first a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Often called the Founder of the Hudson River School, Thomas Cole (1801–1848) holds an important place in the development of American landscape painting. Cole’s Storm in the Wilderness, from the Layton Art Collection and on view in the exhibition, is a good example of the power of his work.

Let’s start with some background. Since the Renaissance, some subjects were considered less important than others. At the top of this hierarchy were historical paintings, which depicted critical events from ancient mythology, politics, and religion. Below that were portraits and genre scenes that captured important persons and contemporary society. And at the very bottom was landscape. Why was that? Landscapes were seen as an inadequate subject for expressing human emotions and societal values.

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Art Collection Curatorial European Prints and Drawings

From the Collection—Albrecht Dürer, Part 3

The inaugural exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until March 20) explores the Renaissance in Germany. Comprised completely of prints from the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum, you can find engravings by Heinrich Aldegrever (1502–ca. 1561) and stipple engravings by Hans Sebald Beham (1500–1550). But you can’t study printmaking in the German Renaissance without a serious consideration of Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). And we’re lucky enough to have 14 prints by the master! This is the third and final of a series of posts related to Dürer’s prints.

Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528), The Hermits St. Anthony and St. Paul in the Desert, ca. 1504. Woodcut. Milwaukee Art Museum, Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection M2004.179. Photo credit: Efraim Lev-er.
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528), The Hermits St. Anthony and St. Paul in the Desert, ca. 1504. Woodcut. Milwaukee Art Museum, Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection M2004.179. Photo credit: Efraim Lev-er.

Sometimes the specialized terminology used in the study of art can be intimidating. This can particularly be a problem with works on paper! In this post I hope to explain the difference between two important printmaking techniques, using Albrecht Dürer as an example, so that they are no longer so daunting.