Milwaukee Art Museum

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Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM)
Milwaukee Art Museum 1 (Mulad).jpg
Established 1882
Location 700 N. Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
 United States
Coordinates 43°02′21″N 87°53′50″W / 43.039292°N 87.897254°W / 43.039292; -87.897254
Type Art museum
Visitors 400,000+
Director Daniel T. Keegan

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) is an art museum located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a collection of over 30,000 works of art.


Interior of the Milwaukee Art Museum

Beginning around 1872, multiple organizations were founded in order to bring an art gallery to Milwaukee, as the city was still a growing port town with little or no facilities to hold major art exhibitions. Over the span of at least nine years, all attempts to build a major art gallery had failed. Shortly after that year, Alexander Mitchell donated all of her collection into constructing Milwaukee's first permanent art gallery in the city's history.[citation needed]

In 1888, the Milwaukee Art Association was created by a group of German panorama artists and local businessmen. The same year, British-born businessman Frederick Layton built, endowed, and provided artwork for the Layton Art Gallery, now demolished. In 1911, the Milwaukee Art Institute, another building constructed to hold other exhibitions and collections, was completed. The institute was built right next to the Layton Art Gallery.

The Milwaukee Art Museum from the south

The Milwaukee Art Museum was Milwaukee's first (disputed, Layton opened that same year) art gallery, opening in 1888.[citation needed]

The Milwaukee Art Center (now the Milwaukee Art Museum) was formed when the Milwaukee Art Institute and Layton Art Gallery merged their collections in 1957 and moved into the newly built Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial. The 341,000-square-foot (31,700 m2) Museum includes the War Memorial Center (1957) designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the Kahler Building (1975) designed by David Kahler, and the Quadracci Pavilion (2001) created by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The Quadracci Pavilion contains a movable, wing-like brise soleil that opens up for a wingspan of 217 feet (66 m) during the day, folding over the tall, arched structure at night or during inclement weather. The pavilion received the 2004 Outstanding Structure Award from the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.[citation needed]

The Reiman Bridge, also designed by Calatrava, connects to the pavilion and provides pedestrian access to and from downtown Milwaukee's business district by way of O'Donnell Park, a seven-acre park complex.

Art Collection The museum houses more than 35,000 works of art housed on four floors, with works from antiquity to the present. Included in the collection are 15th– to 20th–century European and 17th– to 20th–century American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, decorative arts, photographs, and folk and self-taught art. Among the best in the collection are the museum's holding of American decorative arts, German Expressionism, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960.[citation needed]

The museum holds one of the largest collections of works by Wisconsin native Georgia O'Keeffe.[citation needed] Other artists represented include Gustav Caillebotte, Nardo di Cione, Francisco de Zurbarán, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Winslow Homer, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, Robert Gober, and Andy Warhol.

It also has paintings by these European painters: Francesco Botticini, Jan Swart Van Groningen, Ferdinand Bol, Jan Goyen, Hendrick Van Vliet, Franz Von Lenbach ("Bavarian Girl"), Ferdinand Waldmüller ("Interruption"), Carl Spitzweg, Christian Bokelman ("Broken Bank"), Bouguereau, Gerome ("2 Majesties"), Gustave Caillebotte, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Kowalski ("Winter in Russia"), Jules Bastien-Lepage's "The Wood Gatherer", and Max Pechstein.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The museum held auditions for the 10th season of American Idol in 2010.[1]

The Quadracci Pavilion was prominently featured in the 2011 blockbuster film Transformers: Dark of the Moon.[2]

The opening movie for the 2011 video game Forza Motorsport 4 features the museum as a backdrop.[3]


The museum's decision in June 2015 to display a work ridiculing Benedict XVI created outrage among Catholics and others who see it as profoundly disrespectful. The donor of the work justified his decision citing the work's provocative nature. Those opposed to the work argue that it is only provocative in the sense that hate speech is provocative, and that no other religious group or ethnicity would ever be singled out for ridicule by a public institution in this way.[4]

See also[edit]

  • Argo, a sculpture on the grounds
  • The Calling, a sculpture in the Museum's collection on adjacent O'Donnell Park


  1. ^ Dudek, Duane (26 January 2011). "‘Idol’ gets cheesy with Milwaukee auditions". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Hammel, Cailley (12 July 2010). "'Transformers 3' takes over Milwaukee Art Museum". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Forza Motorsport 4 Game Credits". Microsoft Game Studios. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°02′21″N 87°53′50″W / 43.039292°N 87.897254°W / 43.039292; -87.897254