Viewing art in person is a challenge, even if it’s the work of history’s most esteemed artists. You have to be in the right city at the right time. Of EVB’s 1,080 paintings, about 200 are in museum collections, and only a handful of those are on permanent exhibition. The other nine hundred are in the possession of private parties, or lost. Viewing a meaningful number of the pieces is difficult. The objective of vonbruenchenhein.com is to allow anyone with a web browser to get a comprehensive look at EVB’s work, including some of his best paintings.
We started with my personal collection. We contacted museums and private collectors and tried to persuade them to provide us with photographs of their pieces. The Estate of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein allowed us to make use of photos of the paintings in their possession. We contacted galleries who had sold pieces over the years. Many had preserved photographs of them, and we persuaded some of them to let us use them. We ran ads in cities like Milwaukee and Chicago, where we knew there were meaningful numbers of paintings, and asked owners to send us photos of their paintings.
The most direct way into EVB’s mind is through his art. It’s actually the only way. Even his relations and his close friends don’t have much to tell us about what EVB was thinking. There are some hints in his journals and the few hours of tape recording he left behind, but most of what there is to know is in the paintings themselves. We’ve organized the paintings into three groups. For an introduction, the “128 of EVB’s Best” brings together some of his most exciting pieces. The “Thematic” galleries are meant to help the viewer identify repeated ideas in his work. And to get a sense for the breadth and development of EVB’s artistry, the “Chronological” galleries provide images of 600 of his paintings, in order from first to last.
The photographic quality of our collection varies. For about 80% of the images, we were able to get high resolution digital scans. We designed the site so that you can expand each piece to the full dimensions of your computer screen, and the image quality for the scanned paintings is excellent. In some cases, however, we didn’t have much to work with—a casual snapshot, or an old photo taken under bad lighting. If the painting was powerful, we included it anyway. We hope we will be able to replace some of these low-quality images with better ones, over time. Where we know who owns the painting, that’s possible. If the painting has vanished, there may never be more to see than an old photo.
In addition to those pieces exhibited online, we have created an archive of photos and information including all of EVB’s paintings. We currently have images of about 850 of them. That’s a lot, but there are still 200+ paintings unaccounted for.
If you own an EVB painting, or know someone who does, please let us know. If it’s a painting that is already exhibited in the Collection, and you can provide a better photo, we will upgrade the online image. If the painting is undocumented, we are very interested in obtaining information and a photograph for posterity.
Enjoy the Collection
Browse the galleries using the thumbnails or in full screen mode. Listen to the audio clips. Download jpegs and do whatever you like—it’s okay as long as you’re not selling them or using them for commercial purposes. By agreement with the artist’s Estate, we have copyright and publishing licenses for the majority of EVB’s paintings.
I hope you enjoy the Collection.
The most direct way into EVB’s mind is through his art. It’s actually the
only way. Even his relations and his
close friends don’t have much to tell
us about what EVB was thinking.