George and Barbara Gordon Gallery, Artwork by Mathias Alten
George and Barbara Gordon began collecting work by Mathias Alten more than 50 years ago. As an outdoor enthusiast who traveled much of the state as a self-employed Oil and Gas Landman, George was particularly fond of Alten's landscapes. As their collection grew, the Gordons sought an opportunity to share their love of Alten's work with others. A partnership with GVSU was soon formed and the George and Barbara Gordon Gallery was constructed as part of the Richard M. DeVos Center in Fall 2000. Soon after, as demand and the collection increased, additions to the space were made resulting in the now roughly 2,500 square foot gallery space, spanning two floors.
First Floor Gallery - Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy
George and Barbara Gordon Gallery, Room 103E
Richard M. DeVos Center, Building E
401 Fulton St W E
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Fridays and Saturdays 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed: May 26-27, 2023 and Nov 24-25, 2023, Dec 22, 2023 - Jan 7, 2024; March 8-9, 2024
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.
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.
- Read Mathias Alten at 150 from GV Magazine
- View Mathias Alten paintings in the GVSU art collection database
- Visit the Mathias Alten Catalog Raisonné (pictured at right, or below if using a mobile device)
- Purchase or check-out the 2017 printed publication "Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy"
- Mathias J. Alten Timeline (Now on view on the Richard M. Devos Center's 2nd Floor, outside the gallery)
- Download the Gordon Gallery Brochure (pdf): page 1 | page 2
- Download the Mathias Alten Poem (pdf): page 1 | page 2
Continue the Legacy
GEORGE AND BARBARA GORDON ENDOWMENT FOR THE GORDON GALLERY
Provides funds for the upkeep of the Gordon Gallery.
MATHIAS J. ALTEN ENDOWMENT
Preserves, protects and promotes the artwork and reputation of Mathias Alten in the Gordon Gallery. Giving to this fund at any amount comes with automatic membership to the Friends of Alten group. Learn more.
ANITA M. GILLEO ENDOWMENT FOR THE MATHIAS J. ALTEN CATALOGUE RAISONNE'
To be used for the ongoing maintenance and additions to the Mathias J. Alten Catalogue Raisonné by GVSU.
Richard M. DeVos Center, Building E, Room 103 and 202
401 Fulton Street West, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus
Gordon Gallery Hours:
Open Fridays and Saturdays 1:00-5:00p.m.
Closed on holiday weekends:
New Years, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day,Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
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 [email protected]