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Central Library Art Gallery

At the top of the grand staircase, the Central Library Art Gallery hosts a selection of paintings on loan from the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collection. The current exhibit, installed September 2016, features a selection of works by Wisconsin Women Artists. Created between 1948 and 1981, subjects consist of portraits, interiors, and landscapes with styles that include abstract, impressionism, expressionism, and more. 

  • Untitled (Egg tempera on panel, 1993) by Joan Backes (b. 1950)
  • Fisherwoman (Oil on canvas, 1890) by Helen Keene Chapman (active 19th century)
  • Psyche at the Well (Oil on canvas, ca. 1890) by Mrs. L. F. Cooke (active 19th century)
  • Moonlight (Oil on canvas, 1920 or 1928) by Emily Parker Groom (1876–1975)
  • Along the Zattere (Oil on canvas, ca. 1913–14) by Frida Gugler (1874–1966)
  • Sleeping Girl (Oil on canvas, ca. 1935) by Ruth Grotenrath (1912–1988)
  • Birds of Passage (Oil on canvas, probably 1921–1922) by Susan Cressy (d. 1942)
  • Flood (Oil on Masonite, 1939) by M. Virginia Hammersmith (1917–1992)
  • Untitled (Casein on Masonite, 1963) by Ruth Grotenrath (1912–1988)
  • Blue Cloth (or No. 2 Studio Still Life) (Oil on canvas, cardboard mounted, n.d.) by Hulda Rotier Fischer (1893–1982)
  • Young Mother (Oil on Masonite panel, 1949) by Mary R. Gerstein (1914–1964)
  • Study for Room and Gray (Oil on canvas, 1927) by Elsa Emile Ulbricht (1885-1980)
  • Room Interior (Oil on canvas, 1966) by Sheri Urquhardt (b. 1940)
  • Bleeding Hearts (Oil on Masonite panel, n.d.) by Donna Miller (1885–1971)
  • The Hoge Children (Bronze, 1915) by Helen Farnsworth Mears (1872-1916)
  • South Chicago (Oil on Masonite panel, 1953) by Charlotte Ruth Major (active 20th century) 
  • October Storm of 1949 (Oil on Masonite, ca. 1949) by Anna Louisa Miller (1906–1997)
  • Portrait of Margaret Adams (Bronze, 1906) by Helen Farnsworth Mears (1872-1916)

Women played a pivotal role in the development of arts in the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin, from cultural leaders to art educators and instructors. This selection of paintings will showcase over one-hundred years of works by Wisconsin women artists, highlighting the breadth of their artistic contributions. In addition to painting and sculpting, women shaped the formation and growth of the city’s emerging arts and cultural organizations. They also served as collectors and educators, assisting the establishment of art instruction and influencing generations of artists.