Categories
Art Curatorial

New Installation of George Mann Niedecken objects

Installation shot of Museum's lower level George Mann Niedecken installation. Photo by the author.
Installation shot of Museum’s lower level George Mann Niedecken installation. Photo by the author.

Milwaukee in the early 1900s was a wealthy city known for its manufacturing—including beer, leather, steam engines, and metal machinery.

Milwaukee’s industrialists brought cutting-edge technology to their businesses, and a few brought cutting-edge design into their homes.

For a new look, they could turn to interior architect George Mann Niedecken (American, 1878–1945), who revolutionized the upper-class homes in Milwaukee with a step forward from the cluttered interiors of the Victorian era.

The Museum collection has a wealth of drawings, objects, and archival information about our hometown designer that famously collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Recently, to honor the addition of several fantastic new artworks to the Museum’s Niedecken collection, a new installation was put together on the Museum’s lower level.

What’s the story?

Categories
Art Curatorial

From the Collection–Cyril Colnik Iron Basket

Cyril Colnik (American, b. Austria, 1871–1958), Hanging Basket, ca. 1900. Iron, glass; 35 x 8 x 8 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from the American Arts Society M2012.299a–d.
Cyril Colnik (American, b. Austria, 1871–1958), Hanging Basket, ca. 1900. Detail. Iron, glass; 35 x 8 x 8 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from the American Arts Society M2012.299a–d. Photo by the author.

Though the Museum’s mission is to present, in our official lingo, “four floors of over forty galleries of art with works from antiquity to the present,” I’m probably not alone among curators in getting most excited when we acquire and exhibit world-class artwork made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This year, I was thrilled to work with our Museum’s support group dedicated to American fine and decorative arts (the American Arts Society, or AAS) to bring to the Museum’s Collection a fantastic iron hanging basket that was designed, made, and kept in Milwaukee.

While operating The Ornamental Iron Shop for over 60 years in Milwaukee, master iron artisan Cyril Colnik (American, b. Austria, 1871–1958) moved with changing fashions of his posh clientele in the finest homes of this city.

It you see stunning ironwork in Milwaukee, it’s probably by Colnik. To walk on the East Side, or along Lake Drive, is to enjoy a veritable open air Colnik museum.

And now, thanks to the American Arts Society, his artwork is also within the galleries of the Museum!

Categories
Art Behind the Scenes Curatorial Exhibitions

A quick trip to the Niedecken archives

George Mann Niedecken archival materials relating to designs for Milwaukee's Frederick Bogk House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

This afternoon I had to run a quick errand to the Museum’s George Mann Niedecken archives (formerly Prairie Archives) and decided to take a camera, and you blog readers, along for the trip.

As we prepare for the upcoming Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century exhibition, we are going through our own rich design holdings to see what we have that supplements the Wright drawings coming from the collection of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona.