Grand Reopening of the Bradley Collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Posted on April 6th, 2006

Milwaukee, WI, April 6, 2006— This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley’s gift of modern art to the Milwaukee Art Museum for the city to enjoy. In honor of the gift Mrs. Bradley’s collection is being comprehensively reinstalled and presented to Milwaukee as the enduring jewel of the Art Museum. The galleries are open to the public beginning Thursday, April 6, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The city of Milwaukee is invited to celebrate Mrs. Bradley’s Collection all weekend with special programs and activities for the whole family.

The weekend of gallery talks, lectures and special performances also features an inside look at Mrs. Bradley’s suite. Mrs. Bradley loved the Milwaukee Art Museum-so much so, that she had a room built for her to entertain guests and enjoy her art. For the first time, Mrs. Bradley’s suite will be opened to the public with an installation of some of her favorite paintings.

Bradley Collection and History

Thirty years ago the inauguration of the Bradley Galleries garnered the attention of the international art world and became a source of great pride for Milwaukeeans. The new installation of Mrs. Bradley’s collection reflects the particular art movements and artists that interested her. The groups of work are arranged according to the periods of art that attracted her attention: the Art of France, the German Expressionists, Post-WWII Art in Europe, and the post-war painting in the United States from the 1960s and 1970s.

Mrs. Bradley began collecting in 1950, when she fell in love with a painting by Georges Braque, In Drydock (1942) that she saw in a New York gallery window. Over the next twenty-five years she assiduously acquired over 400 works of modern art. With a sense of great civic pride and duty she and her husband began almost immediately to donate important works to the Milwaukee Art Center, culminating in the donation of the Bradley legacy in 1975.

Mrs. Bradley followed her personal taste when collecting, unencumbered by advisors or the fashion of the moment. Fortunately, for the city of Milwaukee, she had impeccable taste. Her collection demonstrates her personal predilection for colorful, expressionistic works of art. It is remarkable to think that this woman, who was initially motivated by the colorful French fauve s and German Expressionists such as Georges Braque and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, could easily move into the difficult post-war Colorfield and Minimal art.

Mark your calendars to join in celebrating Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley’s excellent collection, a hallmark of Milwaukee’s cultural heritage.

The Milwaukee Art Museum includes the new Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, completed in October 2001 and named by Time magazine “Best Design of 2001.” The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 20,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day.

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