2018 Triennial Archive

Eugene von Bruenchenhein

Museum of Contemporary Art
11400 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
Tues–Wed: 11–6, Thurs: 11–7, Fri: 11–9, Sat–Sun: 10–5


Eugene von Bruenchenhein (American, 1910-1983), was an outsider artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin known for his prolific collection of paintings, sculptures, and photographs. A high-school dropout, he lived a subsistence lifestyle with his wife, using found materials such as cardboard boxes from the bakery he worked at, as well as chicken bones and cement. His fantastical and haunting landscapes can be characterized by his self-taught technique of using his fingers, combs, quills, and tools from the bakery to scrape away the paint to reveal a white undercoat. Bruenchenhein’s visionary scenes contain intense color contrasts and unearthly, undulating shapes. Before working with scavenged materials, he photographed his wife, Marie, in black and white, pin-up style scenarios.

His work has been shown in the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.