Loading Events

Seeing Nature

Oct 10, 2015 - Jan 10, 2016
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
General Accessibility
Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection


The Portland Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum and the Paul G. Allen Family Collection are co-organizing a major exhibition exploring the evolution of European and American landscape painting. Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection will feature 39 paintings from five centuries of masterpieces drawn from the collection of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen.

“Paul Allen is one of the Northwest’s most significant art collectors and philanthropists,” said Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director. “His willingness to share his landscape masterpieces with our visitors continues his exceptional generosity and is a wonderful opportunity to be inspired by works of art that reflect his personal vision.”

The exhibition will premiere at the Portland Art Museum in October 2015. It will then travel to The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the New Orleans Museum of Art before closing at the Seattle Art Museum in early 2017.

Impressionistic painting of a harbor with ships and people and surrounded by buildings.
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Depositing of John Bellini’s Three Pictures in La Chiesa Redentore, Venice, 1841, Oil on canvas, 29 x 45 1/2 inches, c. 1738, Oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 30 5/8 inches

Seeing Nature explores the development of landscape painting from a small window on the world to expressions of artists’ experiences with their surroundings on land and sea.

The exhibition reveals the power of landscape to locate the viewer in time and place—to record, explore, and understand the natural and man-made world. Artists began to interpret the specifics of a picturesque city, a parcel of land, or dramatic natural phenomena.

Painting of a forest of birch and other trees with orange and yellow leaves on the ground.
Gustav Klimt, Birch Forest, 1903, Oil on canvas, 42 1/4 x 42 1/4 inches

In the 19th century, the early Impressionists focused on direct observation of nature. This collection is particularly strong in the works of Monet: five great Monet landscapes spanning thirty years are featured, from views of the French countryside to one of his late immersive representations of water lilies, Le Bassin aux Nymphéas of 1919. Cézanne and his fellow Post-Impressionists used a more frankly subjective approach to create works such as La Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1888-90). The exhibition also features a rare landscape masterpiece by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, Birch Forest of 1903.

The last part of the exhibition explores the paintings of artists working in the complexity of the 20th century. In highly individualized ways, artists as diverse as Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter and Ed Ruscha bring fresh perspectives to traditional landscape subjects.

Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection is co-organized by the Portland Art Museum and Seattle Art Museum with the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, and curated in Portland by Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.


PRESENTING SPONSOR: Vulcan Inc. LEAD SPONSORS: The Mark Family; Laura S. Meier; Andrée H. Stevens. MAJOR SPONSORS: Christie’s; Ronna and Eric Hoffman; Walter Clay Hill and Family Foundation. SPONSORS:  Helen Jo and Bill Whitsell; The Boeing Company; Cyndy and Edward Maletis; Oregon Health & Science University; The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation/Arlene Schnitzer/Jordan Schnitzer; Nani S. Warren / The Swigert Warren Foundation; Jim and Susan Winkler. SUPPORTERS: David and Dolorosa Margulis; Robert Trotman and William Hetzelson; Rena Tonkin and Cheryl Tonkin; The Acorn Fund of OCF; Anonymous. EDUCATION SUPPORTERS: Wells Fargo; Elizabeth Lilley. PROMOTIONAL PARTNER: Portland Trailblazers