Treasures can be found throughout Charles Allis Art Museum. The Museum contains a collection of paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and art objects collected by the Allis family and now known collectively as the Charles Allis Collection.
This house museum is a gift to the people of Milwaukee from Charles and Sarah Allis. Charles was the first president of the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company. Both he and his wife were patrons of the arts and were responsible for many acts of charity beyond the art world.
Milwaukee architect Alexander Eschweiler designed the Tudor-style mansion, completed in 1911. The Tudor rose motif is used throughout the Museum.
Mrs. Allis' Bedroom
Sarah's bedroom features realistic watercolors by Wisconsin artist Bruno Ertz. Paintings of butterflies and moths and insects look like pressed specimens.
Mr. Allis' Bedroom
The bed is antique mahogany with carved ornamentation. The bedspread and pillow shams are Battenberg lace, which once belonged to Charles' mother. A Russian bronze bear stands on a tabletop made of petrified wood. The room also features an Amaranth table inlaid with colored wood and mother-of-pearl, and a bronze eagle made by Japanese artist Maruki for the Tokyo Exhibition in 1882.
This room was also referred to as the American Room because the paintings are all by 19th century American painters of the Hudson River School. The chandelier is bronze, and the walls are covered with a special English paper placed over leather. A glass case displays various games, featuring ivory chessmen and mother-of-pearl poker chips.
The Dining Room
The Queen Anne-style table and chairs are mahogany as is the woodwork. The ceiling is covered with silver leaf. Objects of interest include a French marble fountain purchased at an exhibition in Paris. The large, four-fold Chinese teakwood screen is embellished with 12 cloisonné panels representing each month of the year, using the fruit, twig and flower of the month.
The Marble Hall
The Marble Hall is a foyer of marble paneled walls and a marble tile floor surface. The objects in the room are from the Near East, China and Japan. Especially noteworthy are a bowl with 3,000 butterflies, a vase of 1,000 faces and a number of examples of fine cloisonné. Various ivories, netsukes, and ancient glass are also on view.
The French Parlor
The Allis living room is labeled the French Parlor because nearly all of the art and furniture are from France. The woodwork is Circassian walnut; the ceiling is covered with stained silver leaf, and the walls are covered in stretched silk damask. The room contains paintings from the Barbizon School, bronzes of animals and birds, a pair of Louis XIV chairs, and a 1900 Steinway piano that Mrs. Allis played regularly.
The Margaret Rahill Great Hall
Built in 1998 to enhance the Museum, The Great Hall was named to honor former curator, Margaret Rahill, who envisioned this elegant space. The foyer displays more works from the permanent collection: 19th century paintings, including oils by French artists Jean Baptiste Robie, Charles Emile Jacque and German artists Heinrich Johann von Zugel and Adolf Schreyer. The Great Hall is used for Museum programs and private events, and the gallery wall features changing exhibitions. The doors open to a spacious terrace and garden.