Madron is proud to host art historian Sue Taylor, who will give a talk exploring Joseph Friebert’s (1908–2002) art in the context of postwar American abstraction as well as concepts of empathy in painting—concerning both artist and audience. The event will take place at Madron Gallery on Saturday, October 14, at 2:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Joseph Friebert: The Experimental Years, on view now through December 22nd, is an in-depth look at Friebert’s journey into semi-abstraction. The exhibition comprises seventeen paintings from the artist’s estate (Joseph and Betsy Ritz Friebert Family Art Partnership), the Museum of Wisconsin Art, and the Cedarburg Art Museum.
Friebert became a full-time artist and educator at the age of thirty-eight, following his initial career as a pharmacist. He received a bachelor’s degree in art education from Milwaukee State Teachers College (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, or UW-M) and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1946 through 1974, Friebert served on the faculty of the art department at UW-M. During his lifetime, Friebert’s work was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, and Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. After his death, the Joseph and Betsy Ritz Friebert Family Art Partnership collaborated with the Kohler Foundation, which distributed 285 of Friebert’s paintings, drawings, and prints to museums throughout the East Coast and Midwest. Today, Friebert’s artwork can be found in forty-four North American museums, as well as in private collections in the United States and abroad.
Sue Taylor is an art historian, curator, and critic. She earned her B.A. in art history at Roosevelt University and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Taylor’s publications include numerous catalogue essays, as well as articles and reviews in American Art, American Craft, Art Journal, Art in America, ARTnews, ArtUS, Chicago Sun-Times, Dialogue, Fiberarts, New Art Examiner, Oregon ArtsWatch, and The Oregonian. She is the author of two monographs, Hans Bellmer: The Anatomy of Anxiety (MIT Press, 2000) and the award-winning Grant Wood’s Secrets (University of Delaware Press, 2020). Formerly Associate Dean in the College of the Arts and Professor of Art History at Portland State University, Taylor received the Kamelia Massih Outstanding Faculty Award before her appointment to emerita status in 2019.
Madron is home to Madron Gallery, Madron Press, and the Skolnik family’s private art collection. The Skolnik family, the founders of Madron, is committed to supporting Chicago-area artists, celebrating Jewish heritage, and acting as stewards of the legacy of American art. Through scholarship-informed programming and the en suite exhibition of artwork available for purchase alongside pieces from the family’s private collection, Madron has carved out a unique place in Chicago’s artistic landscape, sparking dialogue about the ongoing significance of nineteenth and twentieth-century art in today’s world and fostering a dynamic community for Chicago’s culture-makers, shapers, and appreciators.