Art Collection Curatorial European Prints and Drawings

From the Collection–Vegetable Market at Pontoise by Camille Pissarro

Many of the artists featured in the special exhibition Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels, Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery are also represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the fourth in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s artworks during the run of the exhibition.

Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), Vegetable Market at Pontoise, 1891. Etching, drypoint, and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection M2004.283. Photo credit: Efraim Lev-er.
Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), Vegetable Market at Pontoise, 1891. Etching, drypoint, and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection M2004.283. Photo credit: Efraim Lev-er.

A bustling market welcomes the viewer of Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro’s Vegetable Market at Pontoise. We can almost hear the commotion of the rural village where he lived for some time.

Playing the part of both voyeur and companion, we stand behind a woman selling her vegetables. A young woman stops in front of us, deliberating whether or not she would like to buy what is gently offered to her. We can nearly hear their more quiet conversation in the midst of the lively square where all individuals congregate without segregation of rank. There are men with top hats conversing and women in fine dresses strolling, while others are clearly from a more modest upbringing.

Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Impressionism: La Maison de Monet

Giverny, house
House front view. Image from Foundation Claude Monet Giverny,

On an estate in Giverny, France sits a long two-story home, its pink facade perforated with windows, each framed by Veronese green shutters. Intermittently, a Virginia creeper meanders its way up, around and between the windows. In front of the home an orchard space has been converted into an expansive flower garden. Beyond, a river has been expertly manipulated into a serene water garden.

This was the home of Claude Monet.

At the Milwaukee Art Museum Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper has made its debut with more than 120 drawings, watercolors, and pastels on display from some of the best known (and even a few lesser known) impressionist and post-impressionist artists. This seems a fitting time, in the spirit of impressionism, to discuss (in lieu of any one piece from his oeuvre) Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, France.

Behind the Scenes Exhibitions

Behind the Scenes–The Music of the “Wings”

Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee Art Museum. Designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee Art Museum. Designed by Santiago Calatrava.

Picture this: You’re watching the wings open on the Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion and you realize you hear music… Ever wonder who is behind its creation? I have! The answer is the talented Kris Martinez, Interactive Designer at the Museum. Below, straight from Kris, is everything you ever wanted to know about the music of the Museum.

My name is Kris Martinez, and I am an Interactive Designer at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Some of my daily tasks include designing websites for our feature exhibitions, creating interactive installations, and creating television commercials. I also compose musical themes for the Museum.

For the past year, the Museum has featured short musical pieces that play when the wings open and close. This happens three times a day: 10 AM when the Museum opens, noon when the wings flap, and 5 PM (or 8 PM on Thursdays) when the Museum closes. Each arrangement is unique and is inspired by the Museum’s feature exhibition.

Art Exhibitions Membership

Must-See at the Museum: November

Cryopreservation Unit, Cryonics Institute, Clinton Township, Michigan, 2004/2007 Chromogenic print 37 ¼ x 44 ½ in. © Taryn Simon. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Big things are happening in November at the Milwaukee Art Museum – from lectures and classes to after-hours soirees and artist visits. This is the place to be!

Thursday, November 3: See the art for free on Target Free First Thursday. The Museum is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stop in for two Express Talks on Impressionism, one at noon and another at 5:30.

Saturday, November 5: Come be a part of the dialogue with curator Lisa Hostetler and photographer Taryn Simon as part of “Coffee, Art, and Conversation” at 10:30 a.m. Learn more about Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts, and talk to the artist directly via Skype. Plus veterans receive free admission all day, and a special discount in the Museum Store.

Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection–Léon Augustin Lhermitte’s “Haymaking Time”

Léon-Augustin Lhermitte, Haymaking Time (La Fenaison), 1897. Oil on canvas, 29 1/2 x 38 1/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase with funds from Avis Martin Heller in honor of the Fine Arts Society, M2010.68. Photo by John R. Glembin.

On October 14, the Milwaukee Art Museum opened the exhibition Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper.

The exhibition perfectly sets the scene for looking at a painting recently acquired by the Milwaukee Art Museum, shown at left as it looks mid-conservation.

Haymaking Time (La Fenaison) by the French artist Léon Augustin Lhermitte (1844–1925) is one of the most important paintings by an artist who was extremely influential in his day, but is not a household name today.

This painting can begin a conversation about how wide-ranging the term “impressionism” can be, and who was part of that celebrated movement, and who was not.

Art Art News

Packers, Steelers, and Impressionism

Gustave Caillebotte. Boating on the Yerres (Périssoires sur l'Yerres), 1877. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Milwaukee Journal Company, in honor of Miss Faye McBeath. Photo credit John R. Glembin

All of my friends and coworkers can attest to just how ridiculously excited I was after the Packers and the Steelers won the playoff games. Full confession, though–it’s not because I’m a football fan. Nah. It’s because I knew this meant my current workplace, Milwaukee Art Museum, of course, and my former workplace, the Carnegie Museum of Art (yep, I’m from the ‘Burgh), would be pitted against each other in the now-annual Super Bowl Art Bet.

Art Art News

Wafaa Bilal wants to do what?!

Wafaa Bilal's "Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet)" in the Milwaukee Art Museum's Impressionism gallery. Image from the artist's website

I love that the Milwaukee Art Museum doesn’t shy away from controversial contemporary artists.  You might remember a work in the Museum’s Collection Galleries by Wafaa Bilal and Shawn Lawson that was temporarily installed in the Museum’s Impressionism Gallery in 2007: the Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet). Here is the Museum’s 2007 press release “Viewers Enter a Masterpiece in New Installation”. You can see photographs and a video of the Bilal piece on the artist’s website.

In the latest news, Mr. Bilal is now on to a new project that involves having a video camera surgically implanted into the back of his head!  You can read about it in the ArtsBeat blog here and here in The Art Law Blog post.


Satellite: Experiments

Satellite students study Northern Baroque works in the Collection galleries.
Satellite students study Northern Baroque works in the Collection galleries.

Satellite students have been tagging, talking, and sketching in the past two weeks at the Museum. Traveling through Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and France (virtually, of course), we’ve looked at figural paintings, portraits, and still lifes, and have even done some time-traveling to compare artwork hundreds of years apart.


Impressionist Masterpieces—With and Without Milk

High school students make van Gogh’s The Starry Night in breakfast cereal, 2010 AP Photo/The Herald Journal, Alan Murray.

A group of students in Smithfield, Utah, completed a 6,400 square-foot replica of Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night out of breakfast cereal. We encourage all ways of connecting to great art, but this one jumps to the top of my list in terms of deliciousness. I’m sure the pigs (who reportedly later ate the cereal) would agree.