Grand Valley State University
will celebrate the expansion of the George and Barbara Gordon Gallery
on the Grand Rapids Pew Campus with a public event this Saturday.
The gallery, established in 2008 to showcase dozens of Mathias Alten
paintings donated by the Gordons from their personal collection, has grown to double its original size with the addition of a 1,250-square-foot gallery on the second floor of GVSU's Richard M. DeVos Center (401 W. Fulton St.).
Alten, a celebrated artist, was born in Germany in 1871 and spent much of his life living and painting in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, then traveled to Spain and The Netherlands in search of new inspiration for his work.
With over 100 of Alten's works, most donated by the Gordons and others donated by Alten's three living granddaughters, "Grand Valley holds the largest public Alten collection in the world, as well as his family’s archive collection of family photos and letters," states GVSU in a recent press release.
Combined, the main- and new second-floor exhibition spaces display nearly 80 of Alten's works depicting landscapes, waterscapes and farm scenes of Michigan, Spain and the Netherlands, Alten family portraits and three of the artist's self-portraits, including his last self-portrait painted in 1937 (the year before he died), entitled "Myself At 66."
"He was always in search of new images and new subjects, so his visual vocabulary expanded during his career," says Henry Matthews, GVSU director of galleries and collections. "All the prominent families [in Grand Rapids] had grandpa's portrait painted by Mathias Alten, or a landscape, or a vase of flowers, and many churches, like Fountain St. Church, and also St. Cecilia's Music Society have paintings by him.
"We're now able to showcase some of his story in the George and Barbara Gordon Gallery," Matthews continues. "What this does for us , given the depth of the collection, which is now significant, is we can really now tell the story of Mathias Alten in depth."
The gallery expansion grand opening takes place on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Source: Henry Matthews, Grand Valley State University
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
West Side’s Gordon Gallery expands, makes room for more Mathias Alten works