Photo Diary: A visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

It’s impossible to take a bad picture of Milwaukee Art Museum’s atrium (designed by Santiago Calatrava). This museum is all kinds of killer. I couldn’t get enough. (As always, click on images to supersize.)

Would look smashing with a plastic cover: a mid-nineteenth century sofa attributed to John Henry Belter.

A sculpture by Donald Fortescue and Lawrence LaBianca in the museum’s New Materiality exhibit, up through June 12. This piece had a very subtle audio component to it: stand under the trumpet and you could hear the faint sounds of water sloshing. It was the kids there who pointed this out to us.

An incredible sculpture of a mastiff in the museum’s entryway — an earthenware piece crafted during the Eastern Han Dynasty 25-220 CE).

Accompanying the mastiff: This glazed clay sculpture of a small barking dog, produced during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). <3

Since I seem to be on a yappy dog kick: a painting by Alex Katz, from 1971.

Yes, I’m a dogaholic. An image of a pooch snoozing, part of triptych painted by Jan Swart (von Groningen) in the mid 16th century.

Here’s the full triptych, which is titled Triptych with Moses and the Tablets of the Law and Josiah and the Book of the Law. Whew.

Saint Francis of Assissi in his tomb, by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1630/34. Pairs well with

Alfred Leslie’s self-portrait from 1970. Love the hammer.

This was pretty awesome: Pieter Breughel the Younger’s Peasant Brawl, painted circa 1620. Apparently, this is the sort of thing Hapsburg aristocrats used to like to hang in their chateaus.

The Gardener, 1912, by Alexei Jawkensky.

The day we visited the museum was field trip day. (There must have been half a dozen school buses parked out front.) I loved watching the kids hopscotch on top of Carl Andre’s 144 Pieces of Zinc, a sculpture from 1967.

A little girl takes in the view of a sculpture by Alexander Calder.

Here’s what she was looking at.

Laid Table, from 2007, by Beth Lipman.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 1933, by Marsden Hartley. We saw a lot of mountains on this trip. This painting reminded me of some of our vistas.

I found this painting by Everett Shin, from circa 1910, rather striking for the way in which he masked out the woman’s face.

Ralph’s, by Robert Cottingham, from 1968.

Wally Barker, 1948, by Max Beckmann.

The museum had a pretty wild design collection. Above, a settee reconstructed from original drawings by Josef Ulrich Danhauser, circa 1815. This has Washington, D.C. written all over it.

This blew my mind: a settee from the Biedermeir period in Austria — from the 1820s. So crazy to see something so totally 1970s modern emerge from the early 19th century.

Speaking of couches: This is the sort of painting I’d expect to see over a white leather number owned by some South American narco-boss. It’s Jean-León Gerôme’s The Two Majesties, from 1883.

The second floor galleries have spectacular views of Lake Michigan — including this sculpture room that offers couches for chilling, within the Bradley Collection.

At the gift shop: Museum lip balm. Handy.

A panoramic scan of the museum’s lobby atrium. (Note that this photo is a distorted view of lobby.)

Even the garage is gaspingly beautiful — looking like a BMW showroom. I’m sure this building is a bitch to maintain (hinged metal roof mechanism next to a lake=rust galore), but it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at.

After the museum, we headed to the Old German Beer Hall for lunch. The brat and beer came to a whopping $4. Milwaukee, I love you.


  1. San-suzie

    C-mon the lake is fresh water not salt water so probably not too much corrosion to worry about. Depends of course on what the metal is and the coating too.


    The Art Nurse

  2. c-monster

    good to know… though we did see signs of corrosion on the metal on the bridge that led up to the structure (not sure about the winged roof)… but wouldn’t the moisture alone be a challenge for a building with so many moving bits and parts? regardless of salt?

  3. Joanne Mattera

    “Would look smashing with a plastic cover.”
    In a living room that’s just for when company comes. (“Don’t go in there. It’s clean!”)