Polynesian Fusion

May 26 to September 18, 2022
Opening Reception: May 26, 5 to 7 pm
Artist Talk at 5:30 pm

Distinctive cast bronze forms inspired by unusual shapes and complex patterns of Oceanic nations and cultures will be presented on tall pedestals amongst the courtyard gardens of the Cedarburg Art Museum. These “Polynesian Fusion” sculptures were imagined and crafted by West Bend sculptor Tom Lidtke in the 1990s after an influential visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s display of Oceanic art. This summer, his sculptures will enhance the form and texture of the organic material in the outdoor environment.

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Oceanic Cradle, cast bronze and wood base covered in powered bronze, 1996, 6.25" x 14" x 2", 28"

Mesoamerican Mystery, cast bronze and wood base covered in powered bronze, 1997, 6.75" x 12" x 3.75", 48"

Lidtke credits the Met’s collection for widening his view of various designs and textures of wood carving found throughout Polynesia. Those forms were traditional, utilitarian objects with surface decorations aesthetically enhanced with stylized textural patterns. While Lidtke spent much of his earlier career working with wood and still enjoys the beauty of woodgrain and handling certain tree species, he wanted to explore the fusing of oceanic inspired forms with cast bronze due to the material’s permanency and ability to create such detail that even fingerprints can be revealed. 
Tom Lidtke began his artistic training as hundreds if not thousands of other children did with Jon Gnagy’s television program “Learn to Draw.” A subconscious impact on his art interest was from his late grandmother who was an early 20th Century china painter of landscapes and whose paintings hung on the walls of his childhood home. During his early career, Lidkte taught studio art in Wisconsin and South Australia for a decade. While teaching, he presented an array of artistic styles and media that guided him to find his own style and media choices. Lidtke, the retired Director of the Museum of Wisconsin Art, is the co-author of the Cedarburg Art Museum’s new publication A Creative Place: The History of Wisconsin Art.

Tour with Tom Lidtke
July 22, 2022
10:10am - 12:00pm

Take a small group tour with artist Tom Lidtke as he gives insight into his sculpture, Ajuga Daydream at the beautiful Riverside Park in West Bend, WI. Then, meet up at West Bend Mutual Insurance for a private tour of their outdoor sculpture collection which includes Lidtke's Dancer II.


Date: July 22, 2022

Start Time: 10:10am


Fee: This event is free due to the generosity of our exhibition sponsor, West Bend Mutual Insurance. RSVP is required. Please click the button below to RSVP for this tour. First come, first served.



Riverside Park located at 700 Kilbourn Ave, West Bend, WI 53095

West Bend Mutual Insurance at 1900 S 18th Ave, West Bend, WI 53095


Transportation: Transportation to all locations is the responsibility of the customer. 



10:10am: Meet at the park entrance near parking lot located on 700 Kilbourn Ave., West Bend.

10:15 to 10:35am: Tom Lidtke's tour of Ajuga Daydream

10:40am: Depart for West Bend Mutual Insurance

11:00am to 12:00pm: WBMI tour

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Ajuga Daydream at Riverside Park, West Bend, WI

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Dancer II, West Bend Mutual Insurance Collection. West Bend Mutual Insurance, West Bend.

Thank you to our exhibition sponsor: