Mary Nohl Home and Sculptures
The lakefront home of Mary Nohl, complete with all her art, passed to Kohler Foundation upon her death at the age of 87 in December 2001.
During Mary's long and productive lifetime, she filled her life, her home, and her yard with an incredible array of art. Reclusive in her later years, Mary was often called the "Witch of Fox Point," and legends grew about the artist as she embellished her home and filled her yard with concrete sculptures. She worked in all media, and her large body of work includes painting, sculpture, jewelry, drawings, assemblages, and more. A large collection of her work was donated to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center during her lifetime, and Mary lived to see it exhibited.
The Mary Nohl site has been listed as one of the ten most endangered properties in Wisconsin (2005) by the Wisconsin Preservation Trust. The site has also been recognized on the Wisconsin Registry of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places, and is a Milwaukee County Landmark.
For more than a decade, Kohler Foundation cared for the property and catalogued and documented art. Conservation treatment was regularly applied to the outdoor sculptures, and many individual pieces were conserved and made ready for exhibition. Through a fellowship in Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin (Art History Department), a graduate student was often involved in this process.
Mary Nohl's life and work have provided the subject matter for three master's thesis’s (Bard College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and University of Wisconsin-Madison) and two books on her life. Although Mary lived frugally, she was able to contribute $11.3 million to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to provide continuing support for visual arts and art education programs in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. An artist as well as a supporter of the arts, she has made a lasting impression.
Mary's property, outdoor sculpture, and remaining art have been transferred to a supporting organization of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. It is not open to the public.