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Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France is coming to Milwaukee Art Musem

This November, the Milwaukee Art Museum will tell the story of modern art’s development through 150 works by influential artists working in Paris during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures in the exhibition will lead Museum visitors chronologically through this dynamic transformation in the history of art.

Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France will be on view from November 4, 2017 to January 28, 2018.

"It's very exciting for Milwaukee to bring exhibit of this scope and scale," explained Associate Curator of prints and drawings Brittany Salsbury. "They're some of the biggest names in modern art."

Degas and Picasso represent the bulk of the exhibit.

But the works of others masters include:

Eugène Delacroix

Édouard Manet

Mary Cassatt

Camille Pissarro

Paul Cézanne 

Fernand Léger

Marc Chagall 

Vincent Van Gogh

"There are works on paper and especially fragile and especially light sensitive," expalined Salsbury. "Many of the works in the show have not seen the light of day. It's really special to put them on view together."

Paris became the epicenter of modern art in the nineteenth century. Artists from around the world gathered in its studios, galleries, salons, and museums. They moved away from traditional subjects and styles and, through experimentation and abstraction, charted a new course for art making.

The exhibit represents this transition, including transformative movements such as Impressionism and Cubism.

The focus is on works on paper, highlighting the different ways that modern artists used drawings and prints, and the important role played by these media in their artistic practices.

Materials such as pastel, graphite, and ink, along with techniques including lithography and etching, provided artists with ways to think through and reinterpret themes that fascinated them. 

"Viewers will get a sense of intimacy," Salsbury insists. "A lot of the works in the show are related to the most famous paintings in modern art."

Supporting Events

Gallery Talks
Tues, 1:30 p.m.
Nov 14 with Nikki Otten, research assistant, prints and drawings
Dec 12 and Jan 23 with Britany Salsbury, associate curator of prints and drawings
30-Min. Express Talks


Meijer Free First Thursdays
Thurs, noon
Dec 7 and Jan 4
Lecture: “Traditional Painting Violated”: Picasso and the Art of Emulation
Thurs, Nov 16, 6:15 p.m.
Explore the work of Pablo Picasso and his relationship to traditions in European art, with Katie Hanson, PhD, assistant curator for European paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and curator of that institution’s exhibition Pairing Picasso.

Out of the Vault: Works on Paper from Degas to Picasso

Thurs, Dec 14, 1:30 p.m.

Sign up for this special viewing of prints and drawings from the Museum’s collection related to Degas to Picasso, with Amanda Brown, collection manager of works on paper. Herzfeld Study Center. Space is limited. 

Kohl’s Art Generation Open Studio: Follow the Line
Throughout November
Explore the rise of modernism. Inspired by the drawings in the exhibition Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France, sketch a figure using gestural mark making, illustrate the many sides of an object on a single page, and express emotion with a single line. Transform your drawing into a print using an etching press. And, experiment with rich chalk pastels, rough charcoal, and transparent washes of watercolor.

An audio guide and free family guide accompany this exhibition.

About the Milwaukee Art Museum
Home to a rich collection of more than 30,000 works of art, the Milwaukee Art Museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its campus includes the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, annually showcasing three feature exhibitions, and the Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and David Kahle

r‒designed addition. The Museum recently reopened its Collection Galleries, debuting nearly 2,500 world-class works of art within dramatically transformed galleries and a new lakefront addition. This reimagined space also allows for the presentation of additional changing exhibitions.



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