When we last left off, Charlotte Partridge was the curator of the Layton Art Gallery, which was located on the northeast corner of North Jefferson street and Mason street. In 1957 the Layton Art Collection joined the Milwaukee Art Institute in the new War Memorial building. Three figures are key to the Layton Art Collection during this third period: Edward Dwight, Tracy Atkinson and Frederick Vogel III.
As you may know from reading Chelsea Kelly’s last blog post, the Milwaukee Art Museum is celebrating its 125th anniversary–-commemorating the big year with three exhibitions. The Layton Art Collection: 1888-2013 is the Chipstone Foundation’s contribution to this great celebration.
The exhibition, open through the end of the year, is located in the Museum’s lower level. It tells the story of the Layton Art Collection, and is divided into three parts: Frederick Layton and the Layton Art Gallery, Charlotte Partridge and Modernism, and American Paintings and Decorative Arts. Each of the sections represents a distinct period in the Layton Art Collection. I will devote one blog post to each period, since each is rich with objects and interesting stories.
If you’ve been in the European galleries in the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a dramatic transformation in Gallery 10!
The gallery has been reinstalled as part of the celebrations of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Layton Art Gallery, which laid the foundation for what would become the Milwaukee Art Museum. We’ve decided to call it Mr. Layton’s Gallery, after Milwaukee philanthropist Frederick Layton, who started it all.
You’ll find some paintings that are familiar (and part of the original gift from Frederick Layton): Old Stagecoach by Eastman Johnson, Hark! The Lark! by Winslow Homer, and Homer and His Guide by William Bouguereau. Other visitor favorites are part of this installation, such as The Last of the Spartans by Gaetano Trentanove and Le Père Jacques (Woodgatherer) by Jules Bastien-Lepage.
But what might be a surprise that you have probably never seen many of the paintings because they are usually stored in our paintings vault. The result is a luscious gallery with 52 paintings and two sculptures. In this post, we’ll look at the history behind salon hangs, and show how we decided to use it for Gallery 10.
One of my favorite film gems in the Museum’s audio-visual archive is rare film footage of the institution’s changing location and architecture. This film–soundless, in black and white, circa 1957–features the Layton Art Gallery, the Milwaukee Art Institute, and the Eero Saarinen-designed War Memorial and Milwaukee Art Center building, into which the museum moved officially in 1957.
While the 15-minute film is rather grainy and hazy, the images are nevertheless a stunning peek into the last days of the Layton Art Gallery and the Milwaukee Art Institute in the early 1950s before their demolition, and the subsequent rise of the War Memorial building and the (then) Milwaukee Art Center. Excerpts from this film will be featured in our upcoming 125th Anniversary Exhibition, but if you’d like a sneak peek, read on.
We owe it to the awakening interest in art matters
and the democratic spirit of the society,
which is attempting to make the gallery
a valuable asset to every citizen and
to inculcate an appreciation of its offerings.
–Samuel O. Buckner, President, Milwaukee Art Institute. “Art Gallery Rapidly Growing in Popularity.” Free Press, Dec 23, 1913
In 2013, the Milwaukee Art Museum will celebrate its 125th anniversary. Since 1888, the Museum has featured over 3,600 exhibitions, acquired 30,000+ objects, and published hundreds of exhibition and Collection catalogues. The Museum has been instrumental in setting national standards for excellence in art education, and has also erected visionary architecture. An exciting 125 years indeed!