Art Curatorial

From the Collection—Caspar David Friedrich

Although the Milwaukee Art Museum has a fantastic collection of German art, one of the things I wish we had is a painting by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).

Friedrich is one of the most important German artists from the Romantic period of the early 19th century, and his paintings are showstoppers. A deeply religious man from the Protestant North, Friedrich believed that both landscape and human creativity revealed God’s truth and beauty.

Combine this sentiment with artistic talent, and you have powerful and fascinating paintings rich in symbols and atmospheric effects. Here you can see some examples of Friedrich’s paintings at a Boston College website.

But, as I said, for the time being the Museum’s permanent collection doesn’t include a painting by Friedrich. There is no need to entirely despair, however, because we do have two works on paper by Friedrich. One of them, The Woman with the Raven at the Abyss, is on view right now in the exhibition Framing a Decade (on view in the Koss Gallery through April 3, 2011). This work alone is worth a visit to the show, but there are so many wonderful things included in the exhibition (and all of them in our Collection!) that you will walk away amazed. Although he had a lengthy career, Friedrich’s printmaking output was limited to eighteen etchings and four woodcuts. The designs for the woodcuts were cut into the blocks by Friedrich’s younger brother, Christian Friedrich, who was a cabinet-maker.

Art Exhibitions

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

Claude Mellan, The Sudarium, 1649, printed ca. 1720 (detail). Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Hockerman Charitable Trust. Photo by 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.