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Picturing Oregon

Aug 19, 2017 - Aug 31, 2019
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
General accessibility


In conjunction with the Museum’s 125th anniversaryPicturing Oregon offers an extraordinary opportunity to reflect on the importance of place and to celebrate the incredible geographic diversity of Oregon, and the artists whose work it inspired.

Black and white photograph of Cape Horn and the Columbia River
Lily E. White, Upper Cape Horn, 1903/1905, platinum print, Museum Purchase: Portland Art Museum Volunteer Art Council and Ann Swindells in honor of Joyce Anicker, public domain, 1997.2.5

With its wide-ranging climate and expansive range of natural features, Oregon’s landscape has long been an inspiration for artists. The western side boasts miles of coastline offering vistas of dunes and spires, while abundant rain cycles further inland result in dense, forested mountains, mossy urban areas, and bountiful agriculture. Set in the “rain shadow” of the Cascades, arid eastern Oregon is characterized by desert landforms and vast, dramatic terrain.

Picturing Oregon presents paintings and photographs inspired by the distinct regions that comprise the state—the Coast; Greater Portland; Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge; Willamette Valley; Central Oregon; Eastern Oregon; and Southern Oregon. The exhibition features works from the late 1800s, including Oregon’s pioneer period, and touches on contemporary pieces—all from the Museum’s permanent collection.

Painting of a green hillsides with farming plots
Carl Hall, I Went Walking, 1948, gouache on illustration board, Gift of Mrs. Henry Failing Cabell, © unknown, research required, 75.11

Celebrated artists depicting this diverse ecological state include William Samuel Parrott, Charles McKim, C.E.S. Wood, Childe Hassam, and Charles Heaney, among others. Louis Bunce, Amanda Snyder, Michael Brophy, and Roll Hardy offer an abstract and a contemporary lens to the landscape. Picturing Oregon will also feature a selection of photography, which has served an important role in capturing the region, including works by Lily White, Myra Albert Wiggins, Sarah Ladd, Drex Brooks, and Douglas Frank.

Organized by Grace Kook-Anderson, Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art. Sponsored by Wells Fargo and the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative