MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM TO PRESENT MAJOR EXHIBITION OF WESTERN EUROPEAN AND POLISH PAINTINGS FROM MUSEUMS AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS IN POLAND
5/7/2002 - Milwaukee, WI, May 7, 2002 -- Leonardo da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland: A History of Collecting and Patronage, an exhibition of 77 paintings from public and private collections in Poland, will be on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum from September 13, 2002, to November 24, 2002. It will then travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, (December 8, 2002 - February 16, 2003) and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: California Palace of the Legion of Honor (March 8, 2003 - May 15, 2003). The exhibition was organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The exhibition includes many outstanding paintings, the most famous of which is Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (Cecilia Gallerani) from Cracow. Other highlights include Hans Memling’s great Last Judgment from Gdañsk, which has not previously been seen in the United States. There are five of Bernardo Bellotto’s famous views of Warsaw. Also included are major Polish paintings from the last 500 years and a group of late 19th century paintings by Jewish artists.
The exhibition will highlight Poland’s place in history as a meeting ground for artists and intellectuals of many nationalities; a center for rich and diverse forms of royal patronage incorporating Italian, Netherlandish and French influences; a hub for international trade that
produced a pluralism of taste, and a country that clung to its artistic culture in the face of a geopolitical order that shattered its national independence throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Adding poignancy and power to this exhibition is Poland’s determination over the past 50 years to recover and restore national treasures that were stolen or displaced during World War II. The exhibition will tell, for the first time, the story of the fate of important collections of European paintings in Poland as well as works by late 19th century Jewish artists. A number of the paintings will be on view for the first time since recovery and conservation.
Russell Bowman, Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, noted, “Leonardo da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland is a much larger exhibition, both physically and intellectually, than we have been able to organize previously at this museum. It will be the first in a series of ambitious exhibitions made possible by the Museum’s recent expansion into the new Quadracci Pavilion designed by Santiago Calatrava.”
Laurie Winters, the Museum’s curator of Earlier European Art, has stated, “The cultural history of Poland is little known today, but Poland had a rich culture from the Renaissance into the 19th century. This exhibition and its catalogue are intended to shed light on this hitherto lost aspect of European cultural history.”
Winters is one of several essayists who are contributing chapters to the exhibition’s catalogue. Published by the Milwaukee Art Museum and Yale University Press, the book will chronicle Poland’s cultural contact with Italy, the history of collecting through the 17th and 18th centuries, Polish art through the 19th century, restorations and collecting in Poland and the current state of Poland's museums. Other contributing essayists include Paul W. Knoll, professor of history, University of Southern California; Wojciech Kowalski, professor of law, University of Silesia, Katowice; Andrzej Rottermund, director of the Royal Castle, Warsaw; Piotr S. Wandycz, Bradford Dufee professor of history, Yale University; Dorota Folga-Januszewska, director of collections and research,National Museum, Warsaw; Janusz Wa³ek, deputy director and curator of foreign paintings, The Princes Czartoryski Museum, Cracow; and Antoni Ziemba, curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings, National Museum, Warsaw.
Through the exhibition, the Milwaukee Art Museum will host and partner with local and international organizations, such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, to present a broad range of educational programs and activities designed to enhance the understanding of Polish culture to diverse audiences. Activities will include musical performances, film series, lectures and a symposium.
The Museum will expand its hours during the exhibition only, opening seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., except Thursdays when it will remain open until 8 p.m.
About the Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum includes the new Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, completed in October, 2001 and named by Time magazine “Best Design of 2001”; renovated and reinstalled permanent collection galleries; and elegant public gardens designed by noted landscape architect Dan Kiley. The Museum’s 2001 expansion provided a 30 percent increase in overall gallery space, enhanced educational and public programming facilities, and expanded public amenities.
The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 20,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum’s primary strengths are in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, Old Master works, and folk and self-taught art.
About We Energies
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