While in Milwaukee two weeks ago for the Annual NASCIO conference, I was able to pop by the Milwaukee Art Museum for several hours before the Corporate Leadership Council luncheon that kicked off this year’s event for corporate members.
I was impressed with the breadth and calibre of art work in this museum which houses works from Warhol, Picasso, Monet, and Renoir as well as fine examples from different eras in art history. The art museum spans 3 stories with the majority of the works on the first floor. The real estate is segmented into smaller rooms each offering a taste of a different movement – if you like art you will feel like a kid in a candy store.
For those that have not been able to visit this venue, definitely check it out. The price of admission was $14. However, on the day I went, the temporary exhibit area was under construction so it was only $8 for admission and the audio tour was free. Not a bad deal.
Until you are able to make it there in person, let me take you on a tour of a couple of pieces of art work that I found really striking. This was the other thing I liked about the museum, they allowed photography as long as one didn’t use the flash which was fine since all the pieces were well lit.
This sculpture caught my interest because it was so realistic I did a double take when I passed it. It was not only the detail in this figure down to the wisps of hair and crooked glasses, but also the casual stance that makes this sculpture so real.
Triple Profile Portrait, ca. 1570. This portrait caught my eye because it was striking and unusual to have a portrait of three individuals in this posing in this manner. The note beside this painting suggests that these may actually be the minions, or boyfriends of French King Francois II.
Saint Francis of Assisi in His Tomb, 1630/34. If you see this painting in person at the museum, it is very haunting. Painted by Francisco de Zurbaran, this is a painting of a vision he had of the saint floating above his tomb.
The Shepherdess, ca. 1750-52. The shepherdess depicted here is awaiting her lover. This pastoral scene shows the transition from paintings displayed in public areas to make a social or religious statement to paintings commissioned for the private home that highlights more “frivolous” themes.
Moses and the Tablets of the Law, ca 1648. I found this painting enchanting because of the artist’s attention to detail. You can’t tell from this photo but even the most minute details are taken care of such as the dirt under Moses’ fingernails. The 10 commandments are shown here in French instead of Latin as the artist wanted to emphasize the relevance of the laws to French society.
Settee, 1825/30. This startling piece of furniture caught my attention because of its bright orange color which is only make more intense by setting it again a patterned blue wallpaper and the ultra modern lines.
Le Pere Jacques (Woodgatherer), 1881. This painting has a sweet and sad contrast between the older generation and the younger generation. The old woodsman represents the weariness of old age while the girl in the blue dress symbolizes the vibrancy and innocence of youth.
Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect. Ca 1900. Famous work by Claude Monet of the Impressionist era. One my favorite periods in art. Every time I look at an ultra modern piece of artwork and “don’t get it” I try to remind myself that at the time this was revealed it, many also didn’t “get it”.
The Cock of Liberation by Pablo Picasso. The one and only Picasso in this museum collection. It is located on the third floor and it took me some time to find it. I wanted to see it even though I have never truly been a fan of Picasso myself. This work was completed after the Nazi troops evacuated Paris in November 1944. The rooster symbolizes France, the dove is a symbol for peace. Hence this painting declares a new era of peace and freedom in France. I can see the significance of the piece historically, as a piece of artwork I am still at a loss.
If you are ever in Milwaukee, definitely check this out. If I had more time I would have strolled outside the Art Museum as well. There are beautiful walkways and park areas. It was a pity I had to leave as the day I went the weather was perfect.