The Milwaukee women adventurers – expatriates: Polly Coan and Virginia Fontaine

In Virginia Fontaine’s effort to work while her husband, Paul, was at war in Italy (building and destroying bridges with the Army Corp of Engineers), she assisted the director of the Milwaukee Art Institute (now Milwaukee Art Museum), Polly Coan (1919-2015) (later Frances Nemtin). Polly, a Bryn Mawr graduate, had the most extraordinary upbringing in…

On the Eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day

In advance of January 27th’s International Holocaust Memorial Day, here is a first account on what Europe was like right after World War II.  Virginia wrote, “In 1946-47, the roads were clogged with refugees walking and pulling carts from East Germany to West Germany. It was the coldest winter in about 100 years—even the Rhine…

Welcome to the Fontaine Archive

For researchers: The Fontaine Archive contains the writings and photography of Virginia Hammersmith Fontaine (1915-1991) and information about the life and paintings of Paul Emile Fontaine (1913-1996). The collection of documents and rare images is an essential primary resource for art historians and historians interested in the role that the arts played in postwar Europe’s…

Trusted Eye:Post-World War II Adventures of a Fearless Art Advocate

Due out Spring 2021. Stay tuned. Trusted Eye: Post–World War II Adventures of a Fearless Art Advocate is a compelling narrative of an American wife and mother finding her place amid the rubble of war-torn Germany. Virginia Fontaine fought continually for recognition—as a woman, a photographer, an art curator, and, perhaps most importantly, a liaison…