George and Barbara Gordon Gallery

Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy

The German-born American artist, Mathias Joseph Alten (1871-1938) is often referred to as the Dean of Michigan Painters. Working in a traditional representational style, Alten incorporated the aesthetics and techniques of the Impressionist Movement in paintings infused with light and punctuated with deft brushwork. Based in Grand Rapids, Alten created more than 3,800 works over a forty-plus-year career including landscapes, seascapes, portraits, florals, and still-lifes.  Alten began as a naturalist scene painter, eventually transitioning from Barbizon and Tonalist traditions to an Impressionistic style. His painting
style evolved according to his audience and personal preferences. And while he avoided embracing the “modernist” style of the early Twentieth-Century, he was sympathetic to it.

Mathias Alten Paintings

The George and Barbara Gordon Gallery (1st Floor)

Gordon Gallery 2nd Floor

Mathias Alten in Michigan

Gordon Gallery 1st Floor

Mathias Alten in The Netherlands

Gordon Gallery

Mathias Alten in the United States


Grand Valley State University holds the largest public collection of Alten’s work in the world. The George and Barbara Gordon Gallery, in conjunction with GVSU’s Special Collections of Alten Family Archives, serve as vital resources for the study of the Alten’s work.

Gordon Gallery second floor


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Preserves, protects and promotes the artwork and reputation of Mathias Alten in the Gordon Gallery.

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Richard M. DeVos Center, Building E, Room 103 and 202
401 Fulton Street West, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Directions to the George and Barbara Gordon Gallery

Gordon Gallery Hours:

Open Fridays and Saturdays:  1:00 - 5:00 PM

Closed on holiday weekends:  
New Years, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day,Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Check the days we are closed in more detail!

Private tours and special open hours may be arranged by contacting the Art Gallery Department.


For special accommodation, please call:

For exhibition details and media inquires, please email:
Joel Zwart, Curator of Exhibitions

For learning and engagement opportunities, please email:
Amanda Rainey, UX/Learning Manager