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 - "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:  Dec 22, 2023 - Jan 7, 2024; March 8-9, 2024; May 25th; July 5-6, 2024
              The Gordon Gallery will also be closed Friday, May 17th, 2024 due to an all staff retreat.

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
Gordon Gallery 1st Floor
Gordon Gallery
Gordon Gallery

Second Floor - "A Garden of Delights: Artists Embrace the Flower"

Flowers have long held a place of prominence in cultures around the world. Appreciated for their beauty, fragrance, and symbolism, they continue to play a role in many cultural activities and ceremonies. Over the years, artists, designers, and authors have embraced flowering plants for inspiration. The vibrant colors and associations with love, femininity, and nature have inspired many to include flowers in their artwork. Drawn from the collection at Grand Valley State University, this exhibition features a variety of 2- and 3-dimensional works from artists who have engaged the flower in different ways and forms.

Mathias Alten painting of Chrysanthemums

Mathias J. Alten, Chrysanthemums, ca. 1900, oil on canvas, 2021.86.21, Gift of George H. and Barbara Gordon

Field of Flowers Painting

Armand J. Merizon, Field of Flowers, 1968, oil on board, 1998.188.1

Beaded Top Hat

Naawikwegiizhig (Adam Avery), Beaded Top Hat, wool felt top hat with Ojibwe floral beaded appliqué, 24k gold plated beads, Swarovski crystals, and brass sequins, 2021.20.1

Basket of Strawberries Painting

Fernand Renard, Le Panier de Fraises (Basket of Strawberries), ca. 1971, oil on canvas, Gift of the Stuart and Barbara Padnos Foundation


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.

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Continue the Legacy


Provides funds for the upkeep of the Gordon Gallery.

Give Now


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.

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To be used for the ongoing maintenance and additions to the Mathias J. Alten Catalogue Raisonné by GVSU.

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

Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus Map

Gordon Gallery Hours:

Open Fridays and Saturdays 1:00-5:00p.m.

Closed on holiday weekends:  
New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The Gordon Gallery will also be closed Friday, May 17th, 2024 due to an all staff retreat.

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


For special accommodation, please call:
(616) 331-3638

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

For learning and engagement opportunities, please email [email protected].

Page last modified April 17, 2024