The Paine Art Center And Gardens has been a museum that my wife and I have talked about visiting on any number of occasions. But it never quite fit our schedule. So recently as we headed for an opening of a membership show of the Wisconsin Pastel Artists at the Richeson School of Art and Gallery in Kimberly WI, we put a stop in Oshkosh on our itinerary.
The art center is housed in the beautiful English Tudor mansion shown in the photo that opens this post. Originally planned as an estate by Nathan Paine (Paine Lumber Company) and his wife, Jessie Kimberly Paine (Kimberly-Clarke Paper), construction was started in 1927 and the exterior was completed in 1930. But due to the depression, construction was halted for a time and by the post-WWII era, the Paines decided the mansion would house an art center/museum…the lovely space that we enjoy today.
The interior of the mansion consists of a number of grand staged rooms filled with period furnishings…much of it of French influence. And a great number of late 19th Century paintings by French and American artists and a solid representation of the Barbizon school. Behind the mansion is a group of formal, informal, and event gardens heavily influenced by English gardens. I took the following photos during our visit to the Paine…and my skills here…don’t do justice to the amazing art center.
And here we have the entry hall. As you will see, wood has a prominent place in design, construction, and decoration throughout the building.
Now here we have the Great Hall or ‘living room’. The influence here is Tudor and Elizabethan and the wood accents and carvings were completed by Paine Lumber Company artisans. Now, visitors aren’t allowed to enter the central areas of these rooms and are limited to small roped off areas just inside the doorways or the doorways themselves. This is fine for studying the rooms and furnishings but does limit one’s appreciation of some of the carving and the paintings displayed around each room.
And you also need a place to dine and eat breakfast…so these open and naturally lit spaces are just absolutely inviting!
Now I mentioned paintings. Every room has a selection of delightful paintings as do any number of hallways, passageways, and meeting areas. Prominent artists in the permanent collection at the Paine include George Innis, Jean-Francois Millet, Charles Francois Daubigny, Thomas Moran, Wilson Henry Irvine, Leroy Ireland, J Francis Murphy (a new name for me and an exciting painter), Theodore Rosseau, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, John Edward Costigan, Lillian M. Genth, and others. One highly recognizable painting is a portrait of George Washington attributed to Gilbert Stuart.
And one more photo of some worked wood in a banister and landing:
And a few photos of the gardens (the tulips were in full bloom) and the rear of the mansion from the gardens!
There is a nominal entry fee at the Paine Art Center and Gardens, currently $9.00 per adult and grants admission to both the mansion and gardens. And besides the permanent collection, there is an exhibition space on the first floor that features seasonal or traveling shows. On our visit it was an incredible show of contemporary bead work by South African women artists based on traditional beading. Here is a photo of part of the central piece.
The Paine also features The Studio on the lower level where a variety of art activities and classes take place…so it is actively and directly involved with the community.
Thinking of a visit? You won’t be disappointed…here is the link to their website with all of the information needed to plan a visit!
And just a few random shots of the paintings in the collection: