The Chazen’s photographs were all created after World War II. W. Eugene Smith and Larry Towell, both represented by multiple works in the collection, are considered journalistic photographers also recorded their aesthetic and personal lives. This area of photography, where individual vision and purposeful reporting collide, represents an area of continuing interest and debate in the medium.
Photographs created from the 1950s through the1980s include images by Ralph Gibson, Gary Winogrand, Elliot Erwitt, and Aaron Siskind. Their work ranges from introspective meditations on the visual world to snapshots of street encounters to explorations of the lush possibilities of color.
A small number of works by contemporary artists use photography as part of a mixed-media process, including the tortured images of Joel Peter Witkin, a staged mythical scene set by Diane Blell, and imaginative photogravures of Laurie Simmons.
The permanent collection is key to the museum's mission to preserve and interpret visual art for the education and enjoyment of the public. As a result of generous gifts and museum purchases, the collection now numbers some 5,000 objects.
The collection includes works by some of the most significant American artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A portion of works in the collection reflect significant exhibitions presented by the museum; Wisconsin-based artists are also well represented.
The museum's collection traces its origins to a major gift from Rudolph and Louise Langer in 1968. Through ongoing support from donors, it has become a valuable community resource, assuming a vital role in fulfilling the museum's mission to preserve and interpret visual art for the enrichment and enjoyment of the general public.
The collection has been the inspiration for numerous exhibitions in recent years, including La vida en marcha: Mexican Prints from the Permanent Collection (2003); In Depth: A Closer Look at MMoCA's Permanent Collection (2007); and Something Wicked This Way Comes (2009). Works from the collection figured prominently in solo exhibitions such as Selections from the Collection: Ed Paschke (2001) and John Buck (1999). Work in Progress: The Madison Art Center Collects (2000) documented the foundation, growth, and future of the collection as the museum approached its 100th anniversary.
700 N. Art Museum Drive Milwaukee, Wisconsin - WI53202
The Floyd and Josephine Segel Collection of Photography
In 1986, Floyd and Josephine Segel donated over 300 exceptional works by master photographers including Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget, Bill Brandt, Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Friedlander, Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn, August Sander, and Garry Winogrand. The majority of the photographs fall within the humanist tradition at the heart of the medium, yet the collection also includes a photogram by Man Ray and experimental works by André Kertész.