• Image: Layton Art Gallery

    Layton Art Gallery, Published by Detroit Publishing Co., ca. 1900. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

  • Image: Saarinen architectural drawing

    Concept drawing of the upper portion of the Saarinen building, ca. 1950. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives

  • Image: Saarinen War Memorial Center

    Saarinen building, before 1965. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives

  • Image: Saarinen War Memorial Center

    Interior view of the lower gallery of the Saarinen building, ca. 1960. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives

  • Image: Saarinen War Memorial Center

    Aerial view of the Milwaukee Art Museum during Lakefront Festival of Arts, before 1965. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives

  • Image: Quadracci Pavilion

    Milwaukee Art Museum, Quadracci Pavilion, 2002.Credit: John Hursley

Celebrating 125 Years of Art April 6August 10, 2013 Milwaukee Art Museum

British-born businessman Frederick Layton decided to build an art gallery near Cathedral Square for his adopted city. When the Layton Art Gallery opened in April 1888, it laid the foundation for what would become the Milwaukee Art Museum, an internationally recognized museum with a world-class collection, leading education programs, and history-making exhibitions. In 2013, the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates its founding and its years of growth and adventure through three anniversary exhibitions and related lectures.


Image: Layton Gallery

125 Years of the Milwaukee Art Museum

Baumgartner Galleria

Drawn from institutional archives, the photographs, models, videos, and brochures in this exhibition recall the full range of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s history, from the establishment in 1888 of the Layton Art Gallery and the Milwaukee Art Association to the vibrant international Museum of today. Postcards, posters, and press relate the Museum’s phases of growth and collaboration, deep community engagement, and many world-class acquisitions. See interactive timeline »


Image: Layton Gallery

Mr. Layton’s Gallery

Gallery 10 (Main Level)

This dramatic, floor-to-ceiling installation—often called a salon-style hang—evokes the experience of attending an exhibition at the Layton Art Gallery’s original home near Cathedral Square between 1888 (when the gallery opened) and 1919 (the year that Frederick Layton died). Featured are paintings from philanthropist Frederick Layton’s original gift to Milwaukee: American masterpieces such as the beloved Old Stagecoach by Eastman Johnson and Hark! The Lark! by Winslow Homer, and European treasures, such as Homer and His Guide by William Bouguereau.

Credit: Eastman Johnson (American, 1824–1906), Portrait of Frederick Layton, 1893. Oil on canvas, 78 1/4 x 48 1/4 in. (198.76 x 122.56 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Marshall and Ilsley Bank L1888.30. Photo credit Dedra Walls.

Image: Layton Gallery

Layton Art Collection: 1888–2013

Decorative Arts Gallery
Organized and sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation

The Layton Art Gallery opened its doors in Milwaukee 125 years ago, on April 5, 1888. This purpose-built gallery—the first in the city’s history—was the gift of British-born businessman, collector, and philanthropist Frederick Layton to his adopted city. This exhibition explores the rich story of how the Layton Collection was founded and how its mission and collections have developed over time. Emphasis is placed on the founding of the Layton Art School by Charlotte Partridge in the interwar period and the acquiring of masterworks of American decorative arts by the board of the Layton Collection in the past thirty years. More »

Credit: Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives.