Categories
Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection–Biedermeier Settee

In 2006, when the Milwaukee Art Museum organized the exhibition Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity, it established itself as a center of study for the Beidermeier style that was popular in Central and Northern Europe from about 1815 to 1835.

Building upon the Museum’s strength in German and Austrian art—partly due to the ethnic background of Milwaukee—the exhibition brought to the spotlight to Biedermeier art.  This period of art and design history was not only little-known in the United States, but the exhibition also proposed a whole new interpretation of the style that changed scholarship in Europe as well.  You can read more about Biedermeier here in this review from the New York Times.

Or better yet, read the exhibition catalogue, available for purchase on the Museum Store site.

Categories
Art Curatorial

From the Collection—Portrait by Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein

In 1988, the Milwaukee Art Museum purchased a painting by Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein, one of the most important German portraitists of the early 19th century. Up until that point, most of the paintings in the Museum’s German collection were from the second half of the 19th century, so this was a significant acquisition.  You can find it on the bright blue wall in Gallery 9.

The portrait is a fantastic example of German neoclassical style blended with Biedermeier attention to detail. The upper-class gentleman, dressed expensively and with his jewelry prominently displayed, sits comfortably in an elaborately carved chair. The chair, with a griffin as the armrest, is gilded and upholstered in dark blue—an interpretation of ancient Roman furniture. Behind him is a gilded desk with marble top, again a quote from the ancient world, and a window with a luxurious dark red velvet curtain pulled up to show a city in the distance. The sitter is well-educated, shown by the books spread out on the table and the roll of paper with writing in his hand. He also wears the Maltese Cross on his jacket.

The question is, who is this man?