Fine art tourist: Emil bisttram at panhandle-plains museum (PPHM)

h. d. bugbee, mountain men, (old bill williams and jim bridger), oil on canvasboard

A brief history of the PPHM

PPHM is located in Canyon, Texas, approximately 20 miles south of Amarillo. The museum opened to the public in 1933. It was the brainchild of Hattie Anderson, an educator who had moved to Canyon to teach history at the West Texas Normal School (now West Texas A&M University).

Hattie was fascinated by the history of the area and began to enlist the aid of individuals in the area to form a historical society to preserve the history and culture of the Panhandle-Plains. The historical society flourished for thirteen years; the growing collection of artifacts created the need for more space. The historical society then funded the creation and operation of the museum.

Today the museum continues to prosper and is home to over three million artifacts within the 285,000 square foot complex. The museum provides insight into the past and the present of many facets of the people,culture, history and industry of the Panhandle-Plains. The collection includes galleries devoted to paleontology, archeology, geology, Native American culture, textiles, petroleum extraction and western art.

We enjoyed the PPHM immensely and strongly recommend devoting at least a half day visit when you visit the Amarillo – Lubbock area of the Panhandle. In addition to the museum this area offers ample outdoor recreational opportunities (Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyon – see post: CTSPRINTERLIFE: TOURING THE PANHANDLE). https://wordpress.com/post/ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/6946

EmIL Bisttram

OTR had the great fortune to meet Deanna Lowe Craighead, Curator of Art at the PPHM, while visiting another museum in the panhandle. In addition to dialing us in about the Bisttram exhibition, Deanna also provided us with the recommendation to visit the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa ( see post FINE ART TOURIST PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART). https://wordpress.com/post/ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/7362 The balance of this post is dedicated to the Bisttram exhibit and a bit of his biography.

Emil Bisttram was born in Nagylak, Hungary (now Nadlac, Romania) in 1895. His family emigrated to New York City in 1906. Bisttram studied art at National Academy of Design, Cooper Union, the Art Students League, and the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. He also taught art while studying and was known through out his career as an excellent and sought after teacher.

emil bisttram, storm over taos, c. 1931, oil on canvas

Bisttram visited Taos, New Mexico in 1930. Initially he was overwhelmed by the size and scale of the New Mexico landscape and he struggled to capture the majesty of the environment. Despite that he returned to Taos in 1932 and it remained his home until his death in 1976.

Bisttram evolved from painting New Mexico landscapes and native culture to a decidely abstractionist style. The painting above (Storm Over Taos, 1931) is representative of his early work in New Mexico. The photographs of his paintings below are from the PPHM exhibit (private collection on loan – Ladd Family) and show his progression into abstraction.

emil bisttram, waterfall, 1959, acrylic on canvas
emil bisttram, winter, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, celestial structures, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, ascension no. 2, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, midsummer night’s dream, 1960, enamel on masonite
festivity, 1960, enamel on masonite

Transcendental painting group (TPG)

Bisttram, along with Raymond Jonson, formed the TPG. The TPG was part of the Non-Objective Abstractionist wave of Modernism – which in part emanated from the influx of artists fleeing the increased political disruption ocurring during the 1930s in Europe.

emil bisttram, symphony in blue, 1963, oil on masonite

“The Transcendental Painting Group is composed of artists who are concerned with the development and presentation of various types of non-representational painting; painting that finds its source in the creative imagination and does not depend upon the objective approach.” —- TPG Manifesto

emil bisttram, windsong, 1964, oil on masonite

While we do not enjoy the work of some popular avant garde abstract artists, in our very humble opinion we think the paintings of the TPG artists and in particular Bisttram are in a different category. The work is clearly non-objective in may regards but relatable and created with a clear design in mind. We would love to know what you think.

Be seeing you!

P.S. Added bonus of visiting the PPHM – the excellent Palace Coffee is a five minute walk from the museum.

FINE ART TOURIST PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART (PMOA)

Philbrook museum and gardens- museum photograph

A brief history of the pmoa

From 1927 to 1938 the Villa Philbrook, as it was known, was the family residence of Waite and Genevieve Phillips. The Italian Renaissance style villa as originally built consisted of 72 rooms set on 23 acres of gardens. Phillips donated the mansion to the city of Tulsa for use as an art museum in 1938.

The PMOA opened to the public in 1939. A 70,000 square foot wing was added in 1990 along with a redesign of the garden space ( the new wing also houses a very fine cafe). The museum houses 16,000 works in its permanent collection with a focus on Native American, American and European art.

Historical footnote: Phillips was a member of the Phillips family which founded Phillips Petroleum in 1917. Today the company trades as Phillips 66 and is one of the largest petroleum refiners in the world with revenues of approximately $107b.

Childe hassam, american, bridge over the stour, 1897, oil on canvas

Native american and american artists

Harry fonseca, maidu, Coyote chiefs, from coyotes wild and wooly west show, 1987, acrylic and glitter on canvas
Joan hill, muscogee (creek)/cheroke, war and rumors of war, c.1971, acrylic on canvas
Brenda kennedy grummer, citizen band potawatomi, one sunday at shawnee, 1979, oil on panel
helen hardin, kha’p’oo owinge (santa clara pueblo), vision of a ghost dance, c.1975-1977, oil on board
Tony abeyta, dine’ (navajo), firestorm, 2021, oil on canvas
Joseph henry sharp, american, chief weasel bear, 1906, oil on canvas
WALTER RICHARD (DICK) WEST, SR., SOUTHERN CHEYENNE, THE WEDDING OF ART AND SCIENCE, 1949, OIL ON CANVAS

European art

Pablo picasso, spanish, les pommes, 1947, oil on canvas
Wassily kandinsky,russian, kallmunz, the town hall square, 1903, Oil on board

We enjoyed our visit to the PMOA, and especially appreciated the focus the museum brings to Native American artists. The museum showcases the evolving manner and styles in which Native Americans have been portrayed over the last 150 years – both fascinating and enlightening.

In addition to the finely curated collection, the museum itself is a wonderful piece of architecture. The extravagance and oppulence of a 72 room villa for a family of four is hard to fathom (at least for OTR), but makes for an inspired setting for the art work and artifacts. And of course, the gardens extending down the slope behind the villa are spectacular.

We absolutely recommend an afternoon at the PMOA when you visit Tulsa!

Be seeing you.

P.S. We also recommend having lunch when visiting the PMOA – KITCHEN 27 is excellent.

Fine art tourist: Anderson MUSEUM of CONTEMPORARY art (AMoCA)

After completing our overland segment through the Carson National Forest ( https://ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/2021/11/05/overland-adventure/ ) and a brief stop in Santa Fe ( https://www.instagram.com/p/CVNrZnrF7xK/?utm_medium=copy_link ) we set a course for the Texas Panhandle. Based on the travel time to our first destination in Texas, Roswell, New Mexico appeared to be a good place for an overnight stop (predicated, of course, on the availability of acceptable espresso and tea beverages.)

Roswell Mural Depicting the “Roswell Incident”

Roswell is known primarily as the location of an alleged UFO crash that took place in 1947. Strangely, the purported crash site is 75 miles from Roswell – oh well, close enough for tourism purposes. I do not want to put a damper on the UFO tourist trade (and a our little blog won’t) but the UFO was, in fact, a weather balloon!

Donald B. Anderson, Irish Castle, 2000, acrylic on canvas

From our perspective (with all due respect to UFO fans) there is a much better reason to visit Roswell. As we did a quick bit of research on the town we found a website for the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, and decided to visit the museum the morning following our arrrival.

The next morning (after coffee and tea) we set out to walk to the museum just a short distance away. We feared we had made a wrong turn along the way as the only building we could see ahead looked much more like a warehouse than the exterior of a museum. However, upon getting loser to the building there was signage indicating that the building was in fact the home of the AMoCA.

Donald B. Anderson

Donald B. Anderson, Achil Island, 1987, acrylic on canvas

We were delighted to find ourselves in a bright and colorful space with paintings covering the walls from floor to ceiling. The museum covers 22,000 square feet and is divided into twelve galleries with more than 500 artworks on display.

The photographs of the large scale landscape paintings directly above and below are by Donald B. Anderson, who was a highly successful businessman and artist. He founded the museum in order to bring more art and culture to Roswell and southeastern New Mexico. While a number of his delighful landscapes occupy one of the galleries, the museum is about much more than Mr Anderson.

Donald B. Anderson, Dark Valley, 2001, acrylic on canvas

roswell artists-in-residence (rair)

Jessica Kirkpatrick, Chora 1, 2013, oil on canvas

In addition to the museum itself, Mr Anderson created and funded the Roswell Artists-in-Residency program to bring artists from around the world to work in Roswell. The photograph above and all those below are of artworks by artists that participated in the program since its inception in the late 1960s.

Linda Long, View From My Window, 1991, oil on canvas

In 2002 the RAIR Foundation assumed full reponsibilty for the management of both the museum and the residency program. RAIR provides a full year residency and includes lodging, studio space and a stipend; over 250 artists have participated in the program since its inception.

Jerry R. West, Roswell Cotton Warehouse with Black Dog and Broken Moon, 2012, oil on linen

AMoCA is a first rate museum with a wide range of work by the artists that have benefited from RAIR. If your travels will be taking you in the vicinity of Roswell or even if you are just passing through we recommend that you visit this gem in the desert.

Brian Myers, On Borrowed Time, 1994, oil on canvas

Be seeing you.

Fine art tourist: Oklahoma city museum of art (okcmoa)

Pierre-August Renoir, Portrait of a Girl, ca. 1895, Oil on canvas

The OKCMOA is the product of two Oklahoma City art museums that merged in 1989. The current modern and architecturally impressive downtown location was newly constructed and opened in 2002. OKCMOMA is a fully privately funded organization that has significant local individual and corporate support.

The museum has a diverse collection which we found to be well curated. As an example, the portrait gallery includes portraits that were painted in a period spanning 1820 through 2018 and brings a focus less to the style of painting and more to the culture and norms of the period. We have included photographs of several of our favorite paintings from the portrait gallery below.

Kehinde Wiley, Jacob de Graeff, 2018, Oil on linen

Dale chihuly

Many are familiar with the beautiful glass work of Dale Chihuly and his studio. The OKCMOA has one of the largest collections of his work anywhere. The pieces included in the OKCMOA collection span over 30 years of Chihuly’s work.

The collection is exquisite. What really adds to the collection is the staging of the various pieces – the lighting is set perfectly and most of the installations can be viewed from multiple perspectives adding greatly to the experience (and allowing for the possibility of reasonably good photographs!).

Southwestern art

Followers of OTR know that we admire many styles and schools of art while having a special affinity for art from the southwest. We have included photographs of several of our favorites from the collection on display at OKCMOA.

Doel Reed, The Canyon, 1958, Oil on board
EL Blumenschein, New Mexico, 1921, Oil on canvas
John Sloan, Two Black Crows, 1924, Oil on canvas
Oscar Brousse Jacobseon, from the Trail Ridge, 1936, Oil on canvas board
Alexandre Hogue, Soil and Subsoil, 1946, Oil on canvas

Realism

Our two favorites from the genre of Realist paintings.

Janet Fish, The Ox Bow, 1977, Oil on canvas
Dhimitri Zonia, Saturday Morning, 1969, Oil on canvas

OKCMOA is a very fine mid-sized museum which can be viewed in two to three hours, and should be included in your Oklahoma City itinerary. We will be writing about another OKC museum, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in an upcoming post.

Be seeing you.

Fine art tourist: Taos is art

Fechin’s house

Nicolai Fechin emigrated, along with his wife and daughter, from Russia to New York City in 1923. He was already a well-established artist when he arrived in the States. Fechin developed tuberculosis while living in New York City, visited Taos in 1926 in search of a healthier environment and moved to Taos in 1927.

Fechin purchased an adobe revival house and, along with several members of the Taos Pueblo, worked on expanding and renovating the property for about six years. The beautiful property pictured in this post is the result of those labors.

The house is now part of the Taos Art Museum, exhibiting paintings by Fechin and other well known southwest artists. The property surrounding the home was sold in order to raise the initial funds to convert the property to a museum. Fortunately, the family created covenants to prohibit the home from being occupied as a private residence.

Gallery, formerly Nicolai and Alexandra’s bedroom
Second floor siting room

With the exception of two pieces, all of the furniture in the house was hand carved by Fechin. Additionally, he carved all of the closets and interior doors throughout the house.

Fechin’s art

As we mentioned earlier in the post Fechin was an established artist when he emigrated to New York City. We have included below a gallery of some of his paintings which are on display throughout the house.

Taos museum of art at fehcin house

The collection at Fechin House also includes a number of paintings by other renowned artists. We have included photgrpahs of several of our favorites below.

Joseph Henry Sharp – Taos Landscape, n.d. Oil on canvas.
W. Herbert “Buck” Dunton – Study, McMillian Guide, n.d. Oil on canvas.
W. Victor Higgins – Taos Landscape, Aspens, and Pines. n.d. Oil on canvas.
Oscar E. Berninghaus – Crossing the Arroyo, 1944. Oil on canvas.
Joseph Henry Sharp – The Entrance, n.d. Oil on canvas.

We have posted on our visit to Taos (The High Road to Taos and Taos) previously and recommended Taos as worthy of a several day visit. The Taos Museum of Art at Fechin House is an additional reason to visit Taos as part of your New Mexico travel plans.

Be seeing you.

Southwest Montana

Pioneer mountains scenic byway

Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway
Wise River

The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway is a spectacular drive. The route follows a paved road from Wise, Montana to its end near Dillon, Montana. The Pioneer Mountains have an eastern and western range. The drive winds through the meadows between the ranges providing incredible views all around. Interestingly, the two ranges are very different in appearance. The eastern range has tall, jagged peaks (think Grand Tetons) while the western range is more rounded. These are big mountains with several peaks above 11,000 feet.

We were not familiar with this range before a gentlemen in Shelby told us about this drive – thank you! This is one of the biggest ranges we had never heard of before. The range is within national forest – largely unspoiled – just mountains, forests, meadows and the the byway bisecting the range.

About 25 miles along the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway we came to a five mile dirt road that climbs up to the site of the ghost town of Coolidge and the defunct Elkhorn Mine and Mills. The road is fine for 2wd vehicles if it is dry.

Photo Courtesy of Western Mining History

The former mine and town sit at an elevation of 6601 feet. The mine produced zinc, lead and silver from 1875 until it was decommissioned in 1899 when the ore load was considered to be played out. The Elkhorn was the last mine in Montana to produce silver.

Work to reopen the mine under new ownership began in 1918. The tunneling work brought people back to Coolidge and a school and post office were established. The town even had electricity – no small feat at that time in such a remote location. Unforunately, by the time the tunneling was completed and the mine was actually ready to begin producing in 1923, silver prices plummeted and the mine went bust.

Subsequently, a dam collapse wiped out several sections of rail line and the town lost rail service marking the beginning of the end. The school and post office closed soon after.

The remains of the town are mostly collapsed at this point – not much to explore in that regard, but we think it is worth the visit – the scenery from the mine site is gorgeous and you walk away with a real sense of the what conditions must have been like when the mine and town were operating.

Bannack….Gold rush

Bannack School House and Masonic Lodge

After completing our drive on the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Highway we continued south through the Grasshopper Valley to visit the ghost town of Bannack. The town sits on the bank of Grasshopper Creek and was founded in 1862 after gold was found in the creek. The town is named after the Bannock Indians that inhabited this area at that time – the spelling with an a instead of an o was the result of a clerical error in Washington.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition first documented the creek in 1805 and named it Willard Creek. When the population swelled in 1862 after the discovery of gold, the miners renamed it Grasshopper Creek due to the abundance of grasshoppers in the area.

Bannack Methodist Church, 1877

In addition to the influx of miners (many from Colorado) prospecting for gold, the town became a haven for Civil War deserters and outlaws (in part due to its remote location). Within a year there were approximately 3000 people inhabiting Bannack. Almost all of the inhabitants were men. The handfull of women in town were mostly “saloon girls” who worked in one of the four saloons.

Saloon and Barbershop

As the population continued to swell (10,000 people at its height), the outlaws took full advantage of the opportunity to relieve miners of their gold. Miners frequently went back and forth between Bannack and the mining camp at Virginia City. By this point the outlaws had organized into several large gangs and routinely robbed and in some cases murdered the miners.

The town hired a sheriff (Henry Plummer) to stop the violence but he turned out to be the leader of the largest and most violent of the gangs. Dang!

As this fact became well known, folks of Bannack and Montana decided to take matters into their own hands, forming the Montana Vigilence Committee. Between December 1863 and February 1864, 24 men suspected of crimes were lynched by the Vigilantes. There were no trials! One of the most notable of the men hanged was Sheriff Henry Plummer, who was suspected of being a gang leader. Montana State Police still wear a shoulder patch with the numbers 3-7-77. The numbers supposedly represent the dimensions of the graves of ths suspected outlaws killed by the vigilantes. Three feet wide, seven feet long and 77 inches deep…and now you know.

As with many gold rush towns, the bust comes just as quickly as the boom. By 1870, the easy gold was dredged out of the creek and the population began to quickly decline. Bannack’s population dropped from almost 10,000 to just a few hundred by 1870, only eight years after its founding.

The town carried on until the 1940s due to several small gold booms, but they were not enough to sustain the town. The majority of the remaining population moved on during the 1930s and by the 1940s the one room schoolhouse and the post office closed. The town was effectively non-existent, although a small number of residents hung on into the 1970s.

Today Bannack is managed by the state of Monatana as part of Bannack State Park. The state has done an excellent job preserving the remaining structures as they were but is not restoring the buildings

The history of this short lived town is deep and fascinating. The town physically has over 60 structures remaining – the majority are open for exploration.

If you enjoy western history, Bannack is a fun and interesting place to visit. The Grasshopper Valley is beautiful but remote, so give thought with combining a visit to Bannack with other destinations in southwestern Montana and perhaps Idaho.

Darby rodeo

Bull Riding

Friday night rodeo is a weekly event during the summer in many ranching towns in the west. Kids begin competing at age six. Most high schools have rodeo teams and there is a collegiate circuit as well. Towns take great pride in their rodeo stadium.

The video below is of Cole Trexler, age 18, Montana high school all-around rodeo state champion. Cole will be riding at the collegiate level this fall. His brother Cash, 14, is also a budding rodeo star. He is the high school state champion bull rider. We met Cash and his mom. She told us that Cash “sat” his first horse at age three!

Cole Trexler, Covering on his Bronc

The Senior Professional Rodeo Association was in Darby for the weekend while were camping up the road a piece in Victor. On a gorgeous Friday evening we enjoyed watching the cowboys and cowgirls compete in bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and barrel racing (cowgirls only). The senior circuit is for cowboys and cowgirls forty and over.

The local rodeo is a big deal. The whole town turns out to support the riders. It is also deeply imbued with patriotic and christian themes. The opening ceremony includes prayers for the safety of the riders as well as the servicemen and servicewomen who protect our freedom. The prayers are also for our political leadership – that they make the hard decisions necessary to protect our way of life.

Bitteroot valley

Bitteroot Mountains

The photos below were taken at the Little Smith Creek Ranch where we camped for several nights. We were the only campers at the ranch during our stay. To say that the setting was idylic is an understatement. The ranch is located at the base of the Bitteroot Mountains on the western edge of the valley and our view to the east extended across the valley to the Sapphire Mountains. Plenty of deer wandering by as well. Wow!

Biking and hiking Bitteroot

Kootenai Creek

The Little Smith Creek Ranch, while remote with spectacular scenery, is only minutes from a good number of spectacular hikes into the Bitteroot.

The photos above and below are from our favorite hike. The Kootenai Creek Trail follows a fast flowing creek with waterfalls and pools up to the North Kootenai Lake – a distance of about ten miles to reach the lake, and no – we did not make it all the way to the lake!

Soothing Sound of Rushing Water, Kootenai Creek, Bitteroot Mountains

Clark fork of the columbia river

The Clark Fork of the Columbia River is a 310 mile long river originating as the Silver Bow Creek in Butte. It carries water from a substantial portion of the Rocky Mountains into the Columbia River Basin, which makes the river an excellent choice for white water rafting.

We ran a number of rapids which were mostly class 3. Early spring produces the biggest rapids -class 5- due to snow melt while by August most of the rapids are class 1 or 2 due to the reduced flow of water.

I am not sure if it was due to our senior citizen status or not but we had three guides on our raft! Regardless, were glad to have the two additional paddlers when we went into the bigger rapids.

Fika and art: Missoula style

After our stay in the beautiful Bitteroot Valley we drove north to Missoula. We had hoped to do some more bicycling in addition to river rafting but the heat was too much for us to manage the cycling side of the equation.

We did stay for a couple of days and spent some time at two local coffee shops and visited the interesting (but small) Missoula Art Museum (MAM).

Southwestern montana…hidden gem

Southwestern Montana did not originally factor into our initial planning but after conversations with several Montanans we decided to vector to the region and we are pleased that we did. The southwest corner of Montana is well known to fishing and hunting aficionados, but it’s not found on the standard tourist itinerary.

We had a piece of the planet to ourselves (well, at least regarding other humans) for stretches of time as we drove through the Pioneer Mountains and the pristine Grasshopper Valley. We will definitely return to the area for a more extended stay in the future – lots of hiking, ghost towns and backroads to be explored and dispersed camping under the dark sky.

Be seeing you!

Fine art tourist: YAM YAM…YELLOWSTONE ART MUSEUM: FINE ART TOURIST

New beginnings

Fall in Northern New New Mexico, 1922, Theodore van Soelen
Telaya Peak, c.1921, Jozef Bakos

This was our first visit to Billings and the Yellowstone Art Museum. We were fortunate that our visit coincided with an exhibition of art by New Mexico based artists. The exhibition, New Beginnings, features a diverse group of artists that settled in Taos and Sante Fe, starting in the late 19th century. The majority of the works on exhibit were painted between 1900 and 1940.

Untitled (New Mexico Churchyard), c.1940, Katherine Levin Farrell
Across the Valley, 1929, Alexandre Hogue
La Loma – Taos, c. 1920, Richard Crisler
Sanctuario, 1917, George Bellows
Santa Fe Landscape (Talaya Peak), 1918-1919, B.J.O. Nordfeldt
New Mexico Landscape, c. 1934,Cady Wells
Home by Dark, c. 1930, Oscar Berninghaus
Corrals, c. 1935, Barbara Latham
Taos, New Mexico, 1927, Richard Crisler
The Gathering, c. 1920, Laverne Nelson Black

The New Beginnings exhibit featured paintings by artists that migrated from the east coast to live and work in New Mexico. A number of the featured artists were the founding members of the Taos Colony.

The opportunity to experience and paint the dramatic southwestern landscape inspired many of the transplants to try new styles, colors and techniques which gave new life to their careers as artisits.

While many of these artists are not well known, their collective work was well received in the east where most people had never personally experienced the culture or seen the landscapes of New Mexico.

We were captivated by this exhibit which contains a significant number of paintings. We have included a sample of some of our favorites. The exhibit continues at the YAM until 16 July, 2021.

Matriarchs of modernism

Little Island Winter, 1965, Isabella Johnson

A second smaller exhibit currently on display at the YAM is Matriarchs of Modernism.This exhibit features the work of four Montana women artists and several of their students (men and women). The exhibit is part of the museums celebration of the centennial of women’s sufferage.

We hope you enjoyed the art work included in this post and would definitely recommend a visit to the YAM if your travels take you to Billings.

Be seeing you!

Thoroughly Modern Milwaukee (MKE)

We at OTR had never visited Milwaukee until this trip but a bit of advance reseach convinced us that it would be a good city to spend several days exploring. So after spending a week or so biking and camping in southwestern Wisconsin, we made our way east to the state’s largest city (pop. 595,000).

As some of you may recall, our city visit criteria are well established and straight-forward: third wave coffee and tea cafes, high quality street art, an art museum (or two), an excellent Italian restaurant (and professional baseball is always a plus).

milwaukee Art museum

Crying Girl, 1964, Roy Lichtenstein

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) and it’s predecessor organizations have been in existence since 1888. The Quadracci Pavilion pictured below was constructed in 2001. The impressive Pavilion with its moveable sail sits on the waterfront of Lake Michigan as the signature work of architecture in the city. http://collection.mam.org/

The MAM has several galleries devoted to modern, pop and abstract art which seems fitting with the architectural style of the Pavilion. The museum collections includes a number of works by major Pop and Abstract icons including Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Mist, 2012, David Schnell

fika

Colectivo Coffee served as our cafe host for our stay in MKE. Colectivo is MKE based with cafes on the waterfront and in the Historic Third Ward. Colectivo is also a force in the roasting business and operates the Troubador Bakery as well.

Colectivo has been in a business for quite a while but clearly has not lost its edge and sits firmly in the realm of third wave coffedom. Our experience was excellent because of the professional baristas, friendly staff, great coffee, tasty sandwiches and treats along with an interesting and comfortable cafe space.

There are other solid third wave coffee cafes in MKE which are worth visiting but for a short stay in town you cannot miss with any of Colectivo’s locations.

Street art

MKE provided us with several excellent street murals nicely placed in the Historic Third Ward while the epic mural by @AEROSOLKINGDOM pictured above and below required a short drive down to an industrial area along the waterfront.

As you can see from the photographs there is an eclectic mix of fun and serious art to be found in MKE.

Historic third ward and Riverwalk

The Historic Third Ward District is a former warehouse area which has been revitalized into a thriving entertainment district. There are over 450 businesses in the district. The center piece of the district is the Milwaukee Public Market which houses restaurants, bars, wine shops, live entertainment and retail shops in an large open space.

The district is bounded by the Milwaukee River and the riverwalk which allows pedestrians to stroll along the river and of course provides direct access to the district. Nicely done MKE!

Our recommendations for the district – Onesto for excellent Italian fare, Thief Wine Bar for delicious and very reasonably priced wine, St. Paul Fish Company for fresh fish from the Lake and of course Colectivo Coffee.

Sports

Our timing was fortuitous in visiting MKE while the Brewers were at home. The Brewers did not play when we saw them, but have played better since we were in town (won nine of last ten games). Nonetheless, it is always fun to take in a MLB game, particularly in a stadium not previously visited.

The stadium – American Family Field – opened in 2001 and, like the MAM, is architecturally impressive. The stadium has the only fan-shaped convertible roof in the United States – which worked out well for us as rain moved into the MKE area on the afternoon of the day we were attending.

As you can see in the photos below the crowd was sparse as the city was still limiting attendance to 25% of capacity. The bewildering part of the rule was that while attendance was limited there was no social distancing with seating.

Our thoughts

We had a great time visiting MKE. The city is a good stop for three to four days, depending on your interests. There are plenty of options with professional sports teams, museums, fine and casual dining and live entertainment.

MKE is also very pedestrian- and bike-friendly with numerous paved paths in downtown and along the waterfront. Also, and very importantly from our perspective, is that the local folks we met were uniformly very friendly and open.

MKE – modern and friendly – worth a visit!

Our next planned post will be based on our travels through Minnesota.

Be seeing you!

FINE ART TOURIST: PITTSBURGH

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Carnegie museum of art

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The Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Carnegie was a Scottish immigrant who arrived in America at age 13 with his family in 1848. Carnegie went to work shortly after his arrival as a bobbin boy in a mill, working six days a week, 12 hours a day for the equivalent of $35.00 a week in 2020 dollars.

By his 18th year, Carnegie was working at the Pennsylvania Railroad Company where he moved up quickly to become the Superintendent of the Western Division. Utilizing his connections made at the railroad Carnegie made investments in multiple industries, ultimately founding the Carnegie Steel Company. When he sold the company to JP Morgan, Carnegie became the wealthiest person in America for a period of time.

From that point forward, Carnegie devoted his life to philanthropy. He ultimately spent 90% of his fortune to start and fund a number of philanthropic and learning institutions including the Carnegie Museum of Art.

The CMOA is focused on contemporary art and has a significant collection of works by impressionist, post-impressionist, expressionist and realism painters. The museum also has galleries devoted to abstract artists such as Pollack and Rothko but frankly, abstract art is not art we enjoy.

We have included a sample of some of our favorite paintings from our visit to the CMOA during our recent stay in Pittsburgh. All of the photographs were taken at the museum by @FineArtTourist. We hope you enjoy the selection. Please let us know.

Be seeing you!

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Expressionism

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye…it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.”
Girl Under Apple Tree (1904) Oil on Canvas. Edvard Munch
A painter paints the appearance of things, not their objective correctness. In fact, he creates new appearances of things.”
The Lighthouse of Fehmarn (1912) Oil on canvas. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Realism

“When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway.” The Wreck (1896) Oil on canvas. Winslow Homer

Post-Impressionism

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.”
Wheat Fields after the Rain (1890) Oil on canvas. Vincent van Gogh
What color is in a picture, enthusiasm is in life.” Le Moulin de la Galette (1886-1887)
Oil on canvas. Vincent van Gogh

Impressionism

“I do not always find the streets interesting, so I wait until I see picturesque groups and those that compose well in relation to the whole.”
Fith Avenue in Winter (1892) Oil on canvas. Childe Hassam
“Colors pursue me like a constant worry. They even worry me in my sleep. ”
The Sea at Le Havre (1868) Oil on canvas. Claude Monet
“The art of the colorist has in some ways elements of mathematics and music.”
Place des Lices, St. Tropez (1893) Oil on canvas. Paul Signac
Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.” Landscape with Three Figures (1901) Oil on canvas. Paul Gaugin

“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.”
Water Lilies (1915-1926) Oil on canvas. Claude Monet

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
The Great Bridge (1896) Oil on canvas. Camille Pissarro

Georgia O’Keffee

We are off the road for several days to explore Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our first stop (well second actually – fika at Iconik Roasters – we spent the afternoon basking in the brillance of the 300 or so works on display at the eponymous museum dedicated to her life and work.

Maria has long been an avid fan of her painting. Stephen on the other hand had not given her work serious attention – thinking her a painter of pastel colored flowers.

O’Keffee produced about 3000 works in her 60 year career. The museum owns 1100 of her works – phenomenally all but two were donated to the museum. The 300 paintings on display are grouped across eight galleries that relate to various phases of her life and creative focus.

O’Keffee split her time between New York and New Mexico for about thirty years. After her husband passed away she moved to New Mexico permanently although she traveled to South America and Japan several times.

O’Keffee was initally critized by the male dominated artistic community for her use of bright colors. She loved color and refused to adopt the darker tones that the prominent artists of the time considered appropriate. Her strength as a woman and commitment to what and how she wanted to paint what she saw is evident through out the exhibits and the narrative of her life.

We have included a small sample of photographs of we took at the museum. The paintings featured below cover the period 1917-1958 and represent work from New Mexico and New York.

The Georgia O’Keffee is a must when you visit Santa Fe.

Mesa and Road East, 1952

Ritz Tower, 1928

Green and White, 1957-1958

Church Steeple, 1930

Autumn Trees – The Maple, 1924

Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur, 1930

Church Bell, Ward, Colorado, 1917