New Milwaukee Art Museum Exhibition Inspires Its Own Beer

Newly unveiled this summer, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s “Always New: The Posters of Jules Chéret” represents the first solo exhibition exploring the dynamic and colorful poster works of French lithographer Jules Chéret (1836-1932). It also marks the distribution of a new craft beer honoring the 19th-century trendsetter.   

Amid the bustling energy and excitement of Paris during the movement known as the Belle Époque (1871-1914), designer-artist Jules Chéret imbued his massive, popular advertisements with style, motion, bold colors and substance … Known as “the father of modern poster art,” Chéret is credited with putting the art in poster art. 

But what does the exhibit have to do with beer?

“Chéret gave onlookers something more than ‘who, what, where, and when’ in his posters. They saw something new and fresh,” explains Stevens Point Brewery Marketing Director Julie Birrenkott. “You can think of craft beer as doing the same with beer’s basic ingredients. The appearance, aromas, and techniques are really what liven the senses.”

Chéret’s posters were creative and ephemeral, not unlike craft beer today, in which artistry and innovation are paramount.

Deepening that connection, this exhibition featuring more than 100 colorful and dynamic large-scale advertisements pulls from the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Chéret artworks. Over 600 works were donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum from the personal collection of James and Susee Wiechmann in 2021.

Wiechmann also happens to be the owner of the Stevens Point Brewery, home of the Whole Hog line of Next Level Brews. 

“I wanted to combine two of my great passions,” he said. “This exhibit is a celebration of Poster Art, and you can’t celebrate without a great beer.”

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