Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Warning! This is a L-O-N-G post, but do not be deterred by length. It is another cataloging of art that I've seen and loved. It's mostly pictures with just a little text.

Coming upon the Milwaukee Art Museum is a lot like driving past the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles or the Space Needle in Seattle. The drama of the structure stops you in your tracks and makes you whip out your camera.

The building was designed by internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and was completed in 2001. The triangle "wings" span 217 feet and can be folded in at night or during storms. To me, the design looks like a cross between a ship and an airplane or spaceship.

This bridge provides safe passage over a busy street in front of the museum and connects the museum to downtown Milwaukee:

The very long lines of the fountain echo the rigging cables seen the in photo above:

The inside architecture is just as spectacular as the exterior:

There is a nice view of Lake Michigan from the windows:

The Milwaukee Art Museum houses somewhere between 25,000 and 35,000 works of art (Wikipedia gives both numbers in the same article) on four floors.

Of course, there is a Dale Chihuly glass extravaganza in the lobby. That seems to be fairly standard in the art world:

There was a great Thomas Hart Benton exhibit, but we weren't allowed to take photos inside.

We've actually seen a lot of Benton's work in the last year or two in the Truman Presidential Library, the Kansas State Capitol Building, and the Dallas Museum of Art. 

The MAM's collection spans early history through present day, and I thought about putting all my photos in chronological order, but I decided to present them as I saw them. Memory isn't always linear anyway, is it?

So let's start with a few pieces of Pop Art and Contemporary Art. beginning with the doors to the exhibit hall. Neither the subject nor the artist needs naming:

This seems like a good place to start--the competitor of "the beer that made Milwaukee famous":
Still Life #51 (1964) by Tom Wesselmann

Camptbell's Soup (1965) by Andy Warhol

Wayne Thiebaud is my favorite Pop Artist, partly because he likes to paint desserts. I also like the layers of paint. I don't want to just eat these pieces of pie; I also want to touch them:
Refrigerator Pies (1962) by Wayne Thiebaud

Untitled, from the Mao Tse Tung Portfolio (1972) by Andy Warhol

The following three pictures go together:
Paisley Park (1998) by Dexter Dalwood

There was an impressive collection of tributes on the wall.

Bob was already getting tired. I told him to rest a bit with this guy. Wait. He's part of the collection!
Janitor (1973) by Duane Hanson

Edge of England (1999) by Cornelia Parker
Note: Made of chalk and wire

The Age of Enlightenment--Immanuel Kant (2008) by Yinka Shonibare

We were excited to see this whimsical piece by a Los Angeles artist who was our son's art professor at UCLA and later his employer for several years:
Untitled (2003) by Laura Owens

Another of our son's art professors:
Untitled (Your Fictions Become History) (1983) by Barbara Kruger

Soundsuit (2013) by Nick Cave

Modernity Circa 1952, Mirrored and Reflected Infinity (2004) by Josiah McElheny

Breath (1989) by Gerhard Richter

Detail from above painting:

We turned a corner, went through a door, and suddenly we had traveled back in time three or four hundred years.

I'm always on the lookout for good Noah and the Ark artwork:
Noah and the Animals Entering the Ark (ca. 1650) by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

I fell in love with a nativity painting that we saw in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg by this Dutch artist. He does facial expressions so well:
Mars, God of War (1624/27) by Gerrit van Honthorst

And now we go two hundred years further back to some lovely religious art. This painting wins the ugly baby award. How can the artist paint such a beautiful Mary and such an ugly Christ Child?
Madonna Adoring the Child (1480) by Francesco Botticini

A series of woodcarvings/sculptures caught my eye. I wish I could have taken the photo of these two complex carvings without the glass barrier:
Road to Calvary with St. Veronica (1510/20)

Descent from the Cross (late 17th century)

I knew nothing about Saint Barbara, even though we have a California city named after her.  It was fun to learn her story.
Saint Barbara (Late 15th Century)

My husband Bob is especially fond of St. George and the Dragon art. This one is for him:
St. George Slaying the Dragon (1475/90), Austria

I like the flowing sleeves that make Jesus look like he has wings:
Touch Me Not (Noli Me Tangere) (ca. 1520), Battista Dossi

This is a rather unusual, somewhat eerie version of what seems to be a young St. Francis of Assisi. At first I thought he was holding a jug, but it's actually a skull:
St. Francis of Assisi in His Tomb (1630/34)
by Francisco de Zubaran

This is Moses with the stone tablets. Note the rays of light shining on his head. They look more like disheveled hair than horns or even than beams:
Moses Presenting the Tablets of the Law (ca. 1648) by Philippe de Champaigne

I LOVE this one. It looks quite a bit like a von Honthorst painting (see the painting above of the god Mars). Both artists were Dutch and lived at about the same time. Maybe they were pals.
Christ Before the High Priest (1633) by Matthias Storm

And here's another Dutchman with a very different style. Rather than painting a rough, common man, his Christ is gracefully slender and with alabaster skin--fitting for a resurrected being:
Doubting Thomas (The Incredulity of St. Thomas) (1710) by Adriaen van der Werff)

Moving on to non-religious art . . . 

While you might think this is a painting of three women, rumor has it that these are three men, specifically the three male favorites of King Henry III of France (1551-1589):
Triple Profile Portrait (ca. 1570)
attributed to Lucas de Heerre

We saw a lot of sarcophagi on our trip to Egypt, and it's always a bit of a shock to see one in the United States. I always wonder how we came to have it. This is an especially vivid, well-preserved one:
Mummy Coffin of Pedusiri (500/250 BC), Egyptian

Wow, look at this table full of beautiful things!
Laid Table (2007) by Beth Lipman
But wait! A close-up view shows that he flowers are wilted, someone spilled wine and smashed the goblets, and there are snails eating the leftovers. Apparently even the accoutrements of wealth are transient and subject to decay:

It seems appropriate to pair such tragedy with a bust of the Bard himself:
Bust of Shakespeare (1865) by the Wedgwood factory of Staffordshire, England

And here's his predecessor, John Milton:
Bust of Milton (ca. 1870), Wedgwood

Much too depressing. Let's go back to the rococo:
The Shepherdess (ca. 1750/52) by Jean-Honore Fragonard

. . . or the sentimental. I stood in front of this picture for quite a while, trying to imagine the story. The artist presents such a contrast between work and play, world-weariness and innocence. This was one of my favorite paintings in the museum, and it's by an artist I've never even heard of:
Le Pere Jacques (The Wood Gatherer) (1881), Jules Bastien-Lepage

Bob had fallen in love with a painting entitled Journey of the Magi in the Minneapolis Museum of Art. Here is another painting by Tissot, very different in both subject matter (tourists in London) and style:
London Visitors (1874) by James TIssot

Another one of my favorite painters, Bougeureau, loved to paint mythological and classic subjects, such as this young boy leading Homer, the blind poet who was the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey:
Homer and His Guide (1874) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Here we have another saint after whom a California coastal city is named: Saint Monica. I love the realism of her face against the stylized halo and the muted background. The halo is shown with simple lines, and yet it casts a shadow on Saint Monica's face. Her son Augustine clutches her, looking somewhat fearful:
Saint Monnica in a Landscape (1845) by Alexandre Cabanel

This is another painting that I could look at for a long time. It looks like the shepherd is getting his sheep out of the rain:
The Shepherd's Return (1882) by Heinrich von Zugel

A random Garden of Eden piece:
Marriage of Adam and Eve (1830/40) by Konrad Eberhard

Honestly, when I saw this picture I thought it was a frame from The Lion King. (Simba! Is that you?) It has a slightly cartoon-y quality, and the lion's pose is spot on, don't you think? However, this painting pre-dates the movie by 111 years:
The Two Majesties (1883) by Jean-Leon Gerome

Even though the subject matter is drastically different, I can still see hints of Rodin's The Thinker in this sculpture. Maybe THIS is what The Thinker is thinking about!
The Kiss (Paolo and Francesca)  (1886) by Auguste Rodin

I remember being so excited about seeing my first Monet. Now it's just, "Oh, another Monet. Ho-hum."
Waterloo Bridge (1903) by Claude Monet

Sunset at Rouen (ca. 1885) by Camille Pissarro

Boating on the Yerres (1877) by Gustave Caillebotte

Haymaking Time (1897) by Leon-Augustin Lhermitte

I was super excited to see this lamp made by Clara Driscoll, having recently read Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. (See book review at the end of this post about a church in Topeka.)
"Laburnum" Floor Lamp (ca. 1910) by Clara Driscoll
Produced by TIffany Studios

This is my new favorite "wiseman painting."  Too bad I took such a skeewampus picture of it. Look closely at the clouds and you'll see a contingent of heavenly figures looking down at the miracles occurring on the earth:
Star of Bethlehem (1879-1880) by Elihu Vedder

Speaking of angels, here's another beautiful, non-traditional image. This angel looks like a regular woman, perhaps someone's mother. She just happens to have a set of wings:
An Angel (1893) by Abbott Handerson Thayer

In rather stark contrast, this lady needs a makeover:
Alice Hooper (ca. 1763) by John Singleton Copley

Margaret Hodge, Mrs. John B. Bayard (1780) and her husband, John B. Bayard (1780)
by Charles Willson Peale 

Classic Albert Bierstadt--misty mountains, golden glow, idyllic teepees . . .
Wind River Mountains, Nebraska Territory (1862) by Albert Bierstadt

Impressive sunset, something Thomas Moran is known for:
Three Mile Harbor, Long Island (1889) by Thomas Moran

MAM has one of the largest collections of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings in the United States. I always associate her with New Mexico, but she was born in Wisconsin and spent her first eighteen years there.
Series I--No. 2 (1918) by Georgia O'Keeffe

Hollyhock Pink with Pedernal (1937) by Georgia O'Keeffe

Wooden Virgin (1929)
by Georgia O'Keeffe
The Cliff Chimneys (1938) by Georgia O'Keeffe

I love this Picasso, one I haven't seen before. The rooster, a symbol of France, is crowing to celebrate the liberation of France from the Nazis:
The Cock of the Liberation (1944) by Pablo Picasso

The Horseman (1966) by Marc Chagall

Red Orchestra (1946-49) by Raoul Dufy

I wouldn't guess the next two paintings are by the same artist:
Still Life with Flowers (1918) by Joan Miro

The King's Jester (1926) by Joan Miro

Oriental Queen (ca. 1945) by Georges Rouault

I thought this was a Picasso. I was wrong:
The Wheat Field (ca. 1906) by Maurice de Vlaminck

Now, two of my favorite illustrators with very different styles:
Afternoon (1945) by Andrew Wyeth

Thoughtful Shopper (1924) by Norman Rockwell

And ending with more classic Americana:
The Bronco Buster (1895, cast ca. 1919) by Frederic Remington

Entrapped Otter (1827/30) by John James Audobon

Who would have thought there would be such a great art museum in Milwaukee?


  1. The building is pretty amazing. The exhibit of Thomas Hart Benton is one of my favorites, ever.

  2. What an amazing variety of art! How fun to see the art by Laura Owens and Barbara Kruger.