Wisconsin Art History

with an emphasis on representational art



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Wisconsin Art History." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays.

Following the links to Resource Library articles and essays are a listing of museums in the state which have provided materials to Resource Library for this or any other topic.

Listed after Resource Library articles, essays and museums are links to online resources outside the TFAO website. Following these resources is information about offline resources including DVDs, paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.

We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information.

TFAO welcomes volunteers to further the broadening of knowledge related to this topic. To learn more about TFAO's many volunteer opportunities please click here. Volunteers are welcome to contribute suggestions for additional content in this catalogue. Please see Catalogue and database management for details.


Texts contained in Resource Library by named authors listed by author name in alphabetical order:

Society of Milwaukee Artists by Gay Donahue

Preface to "Foundations of Art in Wisconsin" by Thomas D. Lidtke

Prominence in 19th Century Regional Art by Thomas D. Lidtke

Preface / A Century of Artistic Endeavor by Thomas D. Lidtke

Wisconsin Art from Euro-American Settlement to 1950 by Thomas D. Lidtke

Art Teachers, Art Schools and Art Museums in Early Wisconsin by Peter C. Merrill

Wisconsin's New Art Deal by Mary Michie


Articles contained in Resource Library without named authors listed by article name in alphabetical order:

A Cosmopolitan Life in Wisconsin: Mathilde Schley's Hunger for the Beautiful and Useful

Women's Work: Early Wisconsin Women Artists


Museums and other non-profit sources of Resource Library articles and essays:

Please click on the name of each source to view articles and essays related to that source:

Bergstrom-Mahler Museum

Charles Allis Art Museum

Chazen Museum of Art

Elvehjem Museum of Art

Haggerty Museum of Art

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

Madison Art Center

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee County Historical Society

Museum of Wisconsin Art

Paine Art Center & Arboretum

Rahr-West Art Museum

West Bend Art Museum


(above: Santos Zingale, Fruits of Sturgeon Bay (detail), Sturgeon Bay WI Post Office, 1940, egg tempera. Section of Fine Arts, Treasury Department. courtesy of USPS & wpamurals.com)


Other online information:

Artists from Wisconsin in Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015

Charles Munch: Between the Lines is a 2019 exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art which says: "Between the Lines features thirty paintings from four decades that trace Munch's evolution from pure landscapes to vividly imagined narratives that explore the often complex relationships between humans, animals, and their interactions with the natural world."   Also see Resource Library article  Accessed 12/19

Craig Blietz: Herd is a 2018 exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art which says: "Herd, the artist's first solo exhibition at MOWA, features a new body of work of twenty-three paintings that depict his beloved cows. Created specifically for MOWA's white cube gallery, Blietz's heroic cow parade is the perfect marriage between barnyard chic and SoHo hip."  Also see artist's website  Accessed 12/19

Daniel Gerhartz: The Continuum of Beauty is a 2018 exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art which says: "This exhibition of thirty-one paintings is the artist's first major retrospective; it includes many new, never before seen works. His subjects hover between traditional figurative painting and portraiture; only about five percent of his production is true commissioned portraiture."   Also see artist's website https://danielgerhartz.com/ Accessed 12/19

Joseph Friebert: A Life in Art is a 2018 exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art which says: "Called one of Wisconsin's greatest "living treasures" by the late James Auer, Milwaukee Journal art critic, Joseph Friebert (1908-2002) enjoyed a long and distinguished career, becoming one of the state's leading artists and a beloved and influential teacher."   Also see artist's website Accessed 12/19

List of Famous German Americans includes names of artists; also see "What Happened to the Panorama Painters?" by Peter Merrill, from GermanAmericanPioneers.org. Accessed August, 2015.

Real/Surreal, an exhibit held January 25, 2014 to April 27, 2014 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "This exhibition explores the interconnections between the real and the imagined in early modern American art, with an emphasis on Surrealism and Magic Realism." Also, "The Mystery Beneath is a companion exhibition to Real/Surreal in the main galleries. Including paintings, prints, and drawings, it explores the lasting traditions of Surrealism and Magic Realism as they developed in Wisconsin during the twentieth century." The Mystery Beneath was on exhibit January 25, 2014 to April 13, 2014. Accessed February, 2015

Wisconsin (sampling of artists and works connected to state) from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

Wisconsin Art History: The African American Impact from ABEA. Accessed August, 2015.

Wisconsin Artists Research Bibliography from Kohler Art Library, University of Wisconsin, Madison. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]

Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors - Wisconsin Artists in all Media from The Museum of Wisconsin Art. Accessed August, 2015.

Wisconsin State Capitol- from State of Wisconsin. Accessed August, 2015.

"The Wood Carvings," an essay by Marjorie Meyers Graham presented on Lawrence University's website, discusses wood carvings at Winifred and Donald Boynton's chapel at Björklunden. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]


TFAO's Distinguished Artists catalogue provides online access to biographical information for artists associated with this state. Also, Search Resource Library for online articles and essays concerning both individual artists associated with this state's history and the history of art centers and museums in this state. Resource Library articles and essays devoted to individual artists and institutions are not listed on this page.


Books, listed by year of publication, with most recently published book listed first:

Famous Wisconsin Artists And Architects, by Hannah Heidi Levy. Published by Badger, Books Inc., 2004. 316 pages

Wisconsin Art History: Early Wisconsin Craftmasters: West Bend Art Museum, May 30-July 1, 2001. Published by West Bend Art Museum, 2001. 12 pages

Women's Work: Early Wisconsin Women Artists, West Bend Art Museum, October 3-November 11, 2001, By Heather Boright, West Bend Art Museum (West Bend, Wis.), Wis West Bend Art Museum (West Bend, West Bend Art Museum. Published by West Bend Art Museum, 2001. 72 pages

Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors, Wisconsin Artists in All Media: Centennial Exhibition, By West Bend Art Museum. Published by West Bend Art Museum, 2000. 29 pages

Public Sculpture in Wisconsin: An Atlas of Outdoor Monuments, Memorials & Masterpieces in the Badger State, By Anton Rajer, Christine Style, Contributor Susan Nichols, Richard H Zeitlin. Published by SOS! Save Outdoor Sculpture, Wisconsin, 1999. ISBN 0966418026, 9780966418026. 156 pages. Google Books says: "From heroic war memorials to gigantic fibreglass fish, this volume documents more than 750 outdoor sculptures in the state of Wisconsin. Included are monuments, memorials and masterpieces of traditional public statuary as well as religious grottoes and native American effigy mounds."(right: front cover of Public Sculpture in Wisconsin: An Atlas of Outdoor Monuments, Memorials & Masterpieces in the Badger State, image courtesy of Google Books)

Foundations of Art in Wisconsin: A Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Exhibition in Honor of the State's Founding Cultural Figures and Organizations, Published by West Bend Art Museum, 1998. 46 pages

150 Years of Wisconsin Printmaking, By Andrew Stevens. Published 1998 by Chazen Museum of Art. ISBN:0932900445. Google Books says: "Catalog of an exhibition held at the Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Nov. 21, 1998-Jan. 10, 1999."

Wisconsin Art History: A Chronology of Wisconsin Art and History to 1950, By West Bend Art Museum. Published by West Bend Art Museum, 1998. 18 pages

Collecting the Art of Wisconsin: The Early Years, By West Bend Art Museum. Published by West Bend Art Museum, 1996. 5 pages

Outdoor Sculpture in Milwaukee: A Cultural and Historical Guidebook, By Diane M. Buck, Virginia A. Palmer. Contributor Frederick I. Olson. Published by State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1995. ISBN 0870202766, 9780870202766. 210 pages. Google Books says: "A delightful, fully illustrated guide to ninety-seven outdoor sculptures in Milwaukee. Included is an illustration of each work, a brief biographical sketch of the artist, background history, and a map location. Buck and Palmer interpret the sculptures and set them in the context of the city's history." (left: front cover of Outdoor Sculpture in Milwaukee: A Cultural and Historical Guidebook. image courtesy of Google Books)

German Academic Painters in Wisconsin, catalogue published by West Bend Gallery of Fine Arts, 1989

100 Years of Wisconsin Art, By Milwaukee Art Museum, Published by Milwaukee Art Museum, 1988. 142 pages. Google Books says: "Catalog of the exhibition, held Sept. 24 - Nov. 6, 1988, commemorating the centennial of the Milwaukee Art Museum."

An Exhibition of Paintings by the Members of the Society of Milwaukee Artists, 1900-1913, By Gay Donahue, Art History Gallery, University of Wisconsin- - Milwaukee. Published by Art History Gallery, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, 1981

Wisconsin's New Deal Art, Published by Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. 1980

Milwaukee Illustrated: Panoramic and Bird's-eye Views of a Midwestern Metropolis, 1844-1908 - Exhibition and Catalog, By Thomas Beckman, Milwaukee Art Center, State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Published by Milwaukee Art Center, 1978. 68 pages

Rural Artists of Wisconsin, By John Rector Barton. Published by University of Wisconsin Press, 1948. 196 pages

Art in Wisconsin: The Art Experience of the Middle West Frontier, Including the Catalogue of the Wisconsin Centennial Art Exhibition. Publisher: Madison Arts Association (1936).




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TFAO wishes to extend appreciation to David J, Wagner, Ph.D. for source suggestions.

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