Friday, August 7, 2009

Charles Allia Art Museum Mansion

Milwaukee seems to have a good mix of public and private art galleries. We got a glimpse of the Milwaukee Art Museum earlier today and then headed to Charles Allis Art Museum, which is the former Tudor mansion of a Milwaukee mover and shaker couple from the turn of the century. The Allis family amassed a large collection of art from around the world with the intent to bequest their home and collection to Milwaukee County so it can be appreciated for centuries to come.

For me, there’s something special about walking through a museum that used to be a private residence. Paintings seem more spectacular when hung above a fireplace where their former owners admired them as opposed to in a formal gallery. (In college, I wrote a paper on the differences in viewing experiences for public and private museums and used the National Gallery and Phillips Collection in D.C. as examples.)

The Allis collection includes a lot of Asian art (check out the 18th Century folding screen photo) and American paintings. The home’s d├ęcor is beautiful, and I was tickled to walk through the butler pantry and see the old intercom system with the rooms still labeled.

I wish we were able to spend more time in the Riverwest neighborhood, which has a lot of independent galleries and shops, but we just drove through quickly on the way to our brewery tour.

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