Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection–St. Nicholas Day by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (Austrian, 1793–1865), St. Nicholas Day, 1851. Oil on wood panel. Milwauke Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.124. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (Austrian, 1793–1865), St. Nicholas Day, 1851. Oil on wood panel. Milwauke Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.124. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Today, in celebration of the holiday season, we’re going to discuss one of my favorite paintings in the collection.

In St. Nicholas Day, painter Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793–1865) shows an Austrian family celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6. On St. Nicholas Eve, Austrian children would put their shoes on the windowsill. If they had behaved well all year, the children would discover the next morning that St. Nicholas had filled their shoes with fruit, sweets, and small toys.

While at first glance the crowded room is full of excitement and joy, a closer look shows why Waldmüller was considered one of the most important Austrian artists of the nineteenth century. Rather than a chaotic scene, the painting is balanced and orderly. The gestures and glances of each subject draw the viewer’s eye around the painting, creating a sense of harmony.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection–“Meissen in Winter” by Ernst Ferdinand Oehme

Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (German, 1797–1855), Meissen in Winter, 1854. Oil on canvas; 27 x 23 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.105. Photo credit P. Richard Eells.
Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (German, 1797–1855), Meissen in Winter, 1854. Detail. Oil on canvas; 27 x 23 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.105. Photo credit P. Richard Eells.

[We hope that you enjoy this re-posted 2012 blog post in honor of the holiday season! ]

Speaking of the holidays, one of my favorite paintings in the Museum Collection is Meissen in Winter by German artist Ernst Ferdinand Oehme. Oehme (pronounced EHR-ma) shows us a snowy street in the German town, with the church tower silhouetted against the dusky sky, and a single star shining brightly.

I’ve seen many evenings like this in Wisconsin!

A few inhabitants have braved the cold, crisp air in this Meissen scene: a couple is talking a walk, a man makes his way up the hill, and a gentleman in the foreground has stopped to gaze up at a brightly lit bay window with a cheerfully decorated Christmas tree shown in the detail at left.

The holiday scene is subtle, quiet and calm—and clearly chilly—but I think that the happy glow of that window and the hopeful promise of the single star in the darkening sky are reassuring in what could be a desolate winter scene.

I see hope in that star, and spirit.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection—Mother of the World by Franz Ittenbach

Franz Ittenbach (German, 1813–1879), Mother of the World, 1872. Oil on panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund and with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien.
Franz Ittenbach (German, 1813–1879), Mother of the World, 1872. Oil on panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund and with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien.

From the glittery gold background to the touching depiction of the Madonna and child, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s new acquisition Mother of the World by Franz Ittenbach (German, 1813–1879) is a perfect subject for our blog post during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

At first glance, Mother of the World probably reminds you of the painting that I highlighted two years ago during the holidays: Nardo di Cione’s Madonna and Child. But Ittenbach is a German artist of the 19th century, not an Italian artist of the 14th century! Clearly, Ittenbach is looking back at paintings like the Nardo. This is because he is part of a German art group called the Nazarenes.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection— “Meissen in Winter” by Ernst Ferdinand Oehme

Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (German, 1797–1855), Meissen in Winter, 1854. Oil on canvas; 27 x 23 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.105. Photo credit P. Richard Eells.
Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (German, 1797–1855), Meissen in Winter, 1854. Detail. Oil on canvas; 27 x 23 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.105. Photo credit P. Richard Eells.

Speaking of the holidays, one of my favorite paintings in the Museum Collection is Meissen in Winter by German artist Ernst Ferdinand Oehme. Oehme (pronounced EHR-ma) shows us a snowy street in the German town, with the church tower silhouetted against the dusky sky, and a single star shining brightly.

I’ve seen many evenings like this in Wisconsin!

A few inhabitants have braved the cold, crisp air in this Meissen scene: a couple is talking a walk, a man makes his way up the hill, and a gentleman in the foreground has stopped to gaze up at a brightly lit bay window with a cheerfully decorated Christmas tree shown in the detail at left.

The holiday scene is subtle, quiet and calm—and clearly chilly—but I think that the happy glow of that window and the hopeful promise of the single star in the darkening sky are reassuring in what could be a desolate winter scene.

I see hope in that star, and spirit.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial Modern

From Joan Miró to Easter – Six Degrees of Separation

Joán Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983), The King's Jester (Le Fou Du Roi), 1926. Oil, pencil and charcoal on canvas; 45 x 57 1/2 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice W. Berger M1966.142. Photo credit John Nienhuis, Dedra Walls © Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Joán Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983), The King's Jester (Le Fou Du Roi), 1926. Oil, pencil and charcoal on canvas; 45 x 57 1/2 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice W. Berger M1966.142.
Photo credit John Nienhuis, Dedra Walls © Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Since Easter is Sunday, I thought it would be fitting to write an Easter-themed blog post for the occasion. But other than choosing a piece of art depicting the crucifixion of Christ, I wasn’t exactly sure how I could approach the topic.

Therefore in the spirit of Easter egg hunts I have decided to make a two-fold hunt of my own to find out more about pieces in the Museum’s collection as well as creating a post that is related to the holiday.

Let’s use a little game by the name of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” (or more simply “Six Degrees of Separation”) to relate a non-Easter-themed work of art to the holiday!

Categories
Art Behind the Scenes Museum Buildings

A Beautiful Friendship: The Museum Store Welcomes Milwaukee Artist Chrisanne Robertson

Chrisanne Robertson's illustration in the Museum Store. Photo by the author
Chrisanne Robertson's illustration in the Museum Store. Photo by the author.

This winter, the Art Museum Store has had the good fortune to forge a new and wonderful relationship with an exciting Milwaukee artist, Chrisanne Robertson.

Chrisanne worked closely with our Product Development lead, Julia Jackson (you can read my previous post about Julia’s work for the Museum here) to create a bright and cheerful keepsake ornament featuring Milwaukee’s lakefront.

Chrisanne applied her creative vision and talents with a watercolor paint brush and ink to a delightful design, which Julia then had reproduced onto a glass ornament.  The inside of the spherical ornaments are painstakingly painted by hand with a teeny-tiny brush inserted through the teeny-tiny hole at the top of the ornament.

Yes, really.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection–Neapolitan crèche (Nativity scene)

Naples Italy, Nativity Scene (Crèche), mid 1700s. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Loretta Howard Sturgis. Photo by John R. Glembin.
Naples Italy, Nativity Scene (Crèche), mid 1700s. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Loretta Howard Sturgis, M2006.9.1-.20. Photo by John R. Glembin.

[Again for the 2011 holiday season, the Milwaukee Art Museum is thrilled to display the beloved Neopolitan crèche. Visit the Museum soon to enjoy this tradition with your family–the Nativity Scene will be on view through January 2012. Re-posted below is curator Catherine Sawinski’s 2010 blog post sharing the history of this artwork. ]

It’s that time of year again! The Museum’s Neapolitan crèche is on view in the galleries for the holiday season. You’ll find it in Gallery 4 of the Collection Galleries, with European art.

The origin of the popular Christmas tradition of re-staging the Nativity scene is usually credited to Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223. The custom reached its artistic height in eighteenth-century Naples, when the Museum’s version was made.

Categories
American Art Collection Curatorial

From Museum Storage–Elihu Vedder’s “Star of Bethlehem”

Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923) Star of Bethlehem, 1879–80 . Oil on canvas; 36 3/16 x 44 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears, M1925.2
Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923), Star of Bethlehem, 1879–80 . Oil on canvas; 36 3/16 x 44 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears, M1925.2.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and you know what that means – the “holiday” season is officially upon us!

If you hadn’t already experienced  red and green decorations and Christmas music vying for your attention in October before your pumpkin could be carved, then surely by now, during this week of creative reuse of turkey, you have noticed that December’s holiday mania has set in.

Cue: Sweaty palms, anxiety over what gifts to buy, and finding time to do get it all done. All so that you can have a merry, happy, snowy holiday celebration full of family, friends, food, gifts, etc…whew!

The frantic holiday scene I’ve described is starkly in contrast to the peaceful one we find in Star of Bethlehem created by American painter Elihu Vedder in 1879-80.

Categories
Art Curatorial

From the Collection— Neapolitan Crèche (Nativity Scene)

It’s that time of year again!  The Museum’s Neapolitan crèche is on view in the galleries for the holiday season. You’ll find it in Gallery 4 of the Collection Galleries, with European art.

The origin of the popular Christmas tradition of re-staging the Nativity scene is usually credited to Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223. The custom reached its artistic height in eighteenth-century Naples.  Nobles and aristocrats vied to outdo each other in presenting theatrical crèche (or presepio) displays with elaborate figures clothed in luxurious costumes.  In addition to the Holy Family, the scenes would include angels, putti, shepherds, the Magi, and a host of barnyard animals.  The most elaborate scenes would include daily life in Naples, such as the market, resulting in a lively scene mixing the sacred and the secular that could fill entire rooms.