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. 
 

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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

Hours:
Fridays 1:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m and Saturdays 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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
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Second Floor Gallery - Among Friends: Mathias J. Alten and His Michigan Contemporaries

COMING FALL 2022!

George and Barbara Gordon Gallery, Room 202E
September 9, 2022 – April 29, 2023

Richard M. DeVos Center, Building E
401 Fulton St W E
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

During his lifetime, Mathias Alten interacted, taught, traveled, and worked with many different artists. Drawn from a variety of public and private collections, Among Friends highlights the work of Alten and five other artists he was connected to with roots in Grand Rapids, Michigan: Norman S. Chamberlain, Kreigh Collins, Will Howe Foote, Foster Jewell, and Edward Gregory Smith.

Mission San Juan Capistrano by Mathias J. Alten

Mathias J. Alten
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Oil on canvas
Ca. 1934
Gift of George H. and Barbara Gordon, 2015.71.4 

Mission San Juan Capistrano by Foster Jewell

Foster Jewell
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Oil on canvas
n.d.
Private Collection

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Resources

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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

GEORGE AND BARBARA GORDON ENDOWMENT FOR THE GORDON GALLERY

Provides funds for the upkeep of the Gordon Gallery.

Give Now

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.

Give Now

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.

Give Now

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Location:

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 1:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m and Saturdays 1:00 - 5:00 p.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.

Contact

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:
Amanda Rainey, UX/Learning Manager
[email protected]



Page last modified May 6, 2022