Charles Allis Art Museum | Midwest Living

Charles Allis Art Museum

1801 N. Prospect Ave.
Milwaukee  Wisconsin  53202
United States
(414) 278-8295
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    - Manya Kaczkowski
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    - Manya Kaczkowski
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Midwest Living Review

Manya Kaczkowski
Step into the artful past of one of Milwaukee's industrial barons, Charles Allis, in this mansion-turned-museum on the city's historic East Side.

The Charles Allis Art Museum enables visitors to peek into the early-20th-century private home --and extensive art collection -- of prominent Milwaukee citizens Charles and Sarah Allis. The Tudor home, which dates to 1911, is a vine-covered work of art. It is one of the early designs of Alexander Eschweiler (who also designed the Art Deco Wisconsin Gas Company structure) and built to be fireproof, with three layers of cream city brick. It was one of the first Milwaukee homes designed with electricity, with two central heating systems and hand-carved Italian fireplaces. Charles Allis inherited his father's manufacturing business in 1889 and was the first president of Allis Chalmers Corporation. He loved art and collected many small plein air paintings, Asian ceramics, Renaissance bronze, glassware and furniture. Pieces in the home include Louis XIV furniture, paintings from the Barbizon school, Lincrusta wallpaper (made beginning in 1877 in Lancashire, England) and Tiffany lamps. Interestingly, a lovely wall of stained glass was quoted on by Tiffany, but Allis rejected it because there were too many reds and yellows in their design, which would have detracted, he felt, from the paintings in that stairwell. He awarded the job to Milwaukee Glass Company, and now the paper with the quote on it is worth more than the stained glass! The museum hosts four Wisconsin art shows each year. A German beer-hall-style room (think huge iron chandeliers and beams) can handle private functions. Various special events take place throughout the year, including classic movies, art sales, lectures and music performances. Admission is $5 adults; $3 seniors, military and students. Children 12 and under free. Those visiting both the Charles Allis and sister museum Villa Terrace receive a small discount.

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