In the fall of 2023, the Milwaukee Art Museum is organizing the exhibition Art, Life, Legacy: Northern European Paintings in the Collection of Isabel and Alfred Bader, the only U.S. presentation of more than 75 artworks from the Baders’ extraordinary collection of Dutch and Flemish masterpieces of the Baroque period. Highlights include:
- Head of an Old Man in a Cap, a luminous character study completed by Rembrandt van Rijn ca. 1630, one of five artworks in the exhibition by or attributed to the Dutch master;
- The Angel with Manoah and his Wife, an indelibly moving painting completed by Rembrandt’s early teacher Pieter Lastman in 1617;
- Profile Head of an Old Woman (‘Rembrandt’s Mother’), ca. 1630, a virtuosic character study by Rembrandt contemporary Jan Lievens, whose work the Bader collection holds in depth;
- Still Life with a Wanli Sugar Bowl, completed by Willem Kalf ca. 1678, which immortalizes the luxurious global commodities coveted by the newly affluent Dutch merchant class, including silver, porcelain, shells, and textiles;
- Landscape with Tobias and the Angel, with a View of Antwerp in the Background, an intimate religious scene subsumed within a radiant depiction of the countryside around the city of Antwerp, completed by Gillis Neyts in the 1660s.
Organized in part around key themes drawn from Alfred Bader’s life story, including generosity, sacrifice, struggle, family, and faith, the exhibition will also spotlight current scholarship on topics such as the Dutch role in colonial expansion and identity in the Dutch Republic and will be accompanied by robust public programming and a scholarly catalogue. Bader Philanthropies is the presenting sponsor of the exhibition in Milwaukee. Subsequently, the collection will return to its permanent home at Canada’s Queen’s University Agnes Etherington Art Centre.