The second floor of The Appleton Museum of Art is devoted to a significant collection of European paintings, sculptures and decorative arts. Among the works are 17th and 18th century Dutch paintings by Nicolas Maes, Barent Fabritius, Jan Baptist and an elegant floral still life by the Italian Mario Nuzzi. These works are followed by strong examples of painting and sculpture in the best of the 19th century European academic tradition. French masterpieces by Bouguereau, Gerome, Couture, Cot, Carrier-Belleuse and Carpeaux are joined by other continental artists such as Conrad Kiesel, Carl Rudolph Sohn, Severin Roesen and Joseph van Severdonck. The 19th century Barbizon school is well represented in the collection with fine examples by Rousseau, Dupre, Jacque and Breton and is balanced by Romantic works by Bonheur, Schreyer, Rodin and Barye. Regal French furniture, art glass by Galle and other decorative arts complete the experience of centuries past.
This collection features 18th and 19th century American paintings, prints, decorative arts, maps and other documents. Artists include painters Ralph Albert Blakelock, Thomas Sully, Elizabeth Gardner, and Lord Edwin Weeks; printmakers Audubon and Whistler; and glassblowers Tiffany and Steuben.
This collection spans post-World War II paintings, sculpture and works on paper representing most continents including Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America. Artists include Robert Gordy, Karel Appel, Alexander Calder, Takao Tanabe, Graham Peacock, Claes Oldenberg, Philip Pearlstein, Robert Rauschenberg, James Leo Sewell and Joe Tilson. The collection also showcases many Florida artists such as Ralph Hurst, David Williams, James Rosenquist and Jack Thursby.
The Appleton Museum of Art contains a collection that is known for its diversity and the selection of Asian works is no exception. The museum holds religious and secular works from China, India, Japan, Tibet and Southeast Asia. Hindu art is depicted by several fine Indian sculptures of the 10th to 12th centuries. Buddhist art is represented by Indian, Tibetan, Thai and Burmese sculpture and textiles. The Chinese works feature a number of fine ceramic pieces. A fascinating area of the Asian collection is devoted to the art of Japan. The museum's Japanese collection includes a variety of netsukes, a cast bronze sculpture of a samurai, examples of export ceramics and an elegant palanquin.
Most of the African art in the Appleton Museum is from the collection of the late Dr. Victor David DuBois of New York City. After DuBois' untimely death, the core of his collection was purchased by Arthur I. Appleton. The DuBois Collection is significant because it is so well documented and because DuBois personally selected and researched each piece when he lived for an extended time in Africa. Many pieces were obtained in the field directly from the people who made and used them. The collection spans most of the cultures of West and Central Africa. Some notable examples from the collection are a Bamana stool from Mali, a rare Senufo side-blown trumpet from Upper Volta and a rare Yoruba Gelede mask from the Republic of Benin.
The Islamic collection at the Appleton Museum of Art features rarely viewed examples of Islamic ceramic art crafted by artists between the 10th and 14th centuries in Persia (today's Iran). The pieces are decorated in a wide range of styles with images of birds and animals, Arabic calligraphy and abstract designs that are surprisingly modern in sensibility. The ceramics in the collection represent some of the key ancient glazing techniques such as splashed ware, lusterware, slip-painted ware, buffware, monochrome glazed fritware and underglaze painted fritware.
The oldest work of Pre-Columbian art in the Appleton Museum of Art is a ceramic female figurine from the coastal Ecuadorian Valdivia culture (ca. 2000 BC). The Appleton collection contains a broad selection of such figurines from many countries along with numerous examples of other ceramic forms. Some of the museum's most outstanding ceramic figures are from the Late Pre-Classic period in West Mexico and the Classic and Late Classic Periods in Eastern Mexico (Veracruz). The museum also holds excellent examples of Mayan art in the form of ceremonial bowls and figurines. Two fine Tairona blackware effigy urns from Colombia highlight the collection. From Peruvian cultures, Chavin blackware, burnished pieces of the Nazca, a fine group of Moche ceramics and other later examples comprise an engaging view of pre-conquest America. Gold and jade objects are represented by a series of Mayan and Costa Rican jade ornaments and a magnificent gold eagle pendant from the Veraguas area of Panama.
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