MEET THE COLLECTORS
Jody and Dick Goisman
Jody and Dick Goisman’s passion for decorative arts and design, particularly Art Deco, started early in their lives. They, in turn, became strong leaders in the creation, funding, and acquisition of objects for the Museum’s design collection. Their loans are featured in Milwaukee Collects and the Demmer Design Gallery. Learn more about their life as collectors, as shared with Monica Obniski, Demmer Curator of 20th- and 21st-Century Design.
Q: When did the collecting bug bite?
A: We were both in Madison at the same time. I was a student living in an Art Deco building on campus, and Dick was studying for the bar exam and already collecting prints. On our first date, we went to the Mid-America Antiques Center in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, and Dick bought a first edition of The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), an icon of Art Deco design. We were hooked.
Eckhart Grohmann has collected art since the 1960s. His “Man at Work” collection, which he donated to the Milwaukee School of Engineering, comprises more than eleven hundred paintings and sculptures and focuses on people at work through time. The Grohmann Museum at MSOE is named in his honor.
Q: Can you tell us about the work by Ludwig Knaus that you lent to Milwaukee Collects?
A: I love the picture because I went to school close to the village of Willingshausen, between Frankfurt and Kassel, where Ludwig Knaus and many other nineteenth-century German painters studied. Knaus made many visits there because he liked the originality of the country folks.
The painting was first shown, in Paris, in 1859 and was extremely well received. It was then shown in Vienna and Cologne in 1864. After that, it fell off the map—nobody knew where it went. For 120 years, the original painting’s location was unknown, and all that existed were black-and-white lithographs. In 2000, the work came up at a Sotheby’s auction, and I realized that was my Dance Under the Linden Tree [a work by Knaus in the Museum’s collection], and I had to buy it.
Sande Robinson is a former trustee of the Milwaukee Art Museum and the president of the African American Art Alliance, one of the Museum’s nine support groups. She is lending Still Life #2 by Milwaukee-native Tyanna Buie to the exhibition.
Q: When did you start collecting and with what work of art?
A: I started collecting when I was a student at Kent State University in the 1970s. I used to cut through the art department on my way to and from class. I would listen in on their critiques, watch them draw and paint. I bought my first professional piece of art during an art sale, from a student who had graduated from the department.
Christine Symchych is a member of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s board. She and her husband, Jim McNulty, focus their collecting on photography.
Q: Which picture will you miss the most while it is on view in Milwaukee Collects?
A: The Albert Renger-Patzsch picture is one of our personal favorites. It’s not our biggest, it’s not our flashiest, it’s not our most valuable (in the common sense of the word), but it’s really one of our favorites.