Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum can trace its roots back to two institutions: The Layton Art Gallery and the Milwaukee Art Institute. The Layton Gallery was established in 1888 and the Milwaukee Art Institute emerged from a group of artists, which was formed that same year. (They only moved to a permanent address in 1911 on Jefferson St.) These two merged together in 1957, forming the Milwaukee Art Center, now known as the Milwaukee Art Museum. It was around this time they decided to move the gallery to its current location, on the coast of Lake Michigan.
During the mid-late nineteenth century, Milwaukee was still a quickly growing port town without any established art galleries. The city had a large industrial based blue-collar economy, which consisted of brickyards, breweries, and meatpacking. Politicians and city leaders of various backgrounds wanted to give the city a more cosmopolitan feel to promote the growth of culture (and to help attract investors). Businessman and meat packer Fredrick Layton opened the Layton Art Gallery in 1888 as a gift to the city that helped him amass his fortune. The gallery consisted of art from both notable European and American painters.
The Milwaukee Art Institute developed from the Milwaukee Art Association, which consisted of a group of local artists, in 1888. In 1911, a permanent location near the Layton Art Gallery was established. Unlike the gallery, the Milwaukee Art Institution was not concerned so much with collecting pieces of art. The institute was dedicated to hosting a wide range of exhibitions that were circulating the United States. Some noteworthy exhibitions that passed through the institute were German Expressionism in 1924, the American Impressionism exhibit in 1928, and designs by Frank Lloyd Wright and Thomas Hart Benton in 1930.
During the end of WWII, proposals for a community art center dedicated to soldiers began circulating amongst local businesses and...