Seeing Nature offers a rare opportunity for east coast audiences to witness the leading investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist’s personal vision.
WASHINGTON—Next spring, The Phillips Collection will present a major exhibition exploring the evolution of American and European landscape painting. Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection features 39 masterpieces, spanning five centuries, on loan from the collection of entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen. Co-organized by the Portland Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, Seeing Nature is on view at the Phillips from February 6 through May 8, 2016.
“It is a pleasure to host this exhibition—beautifully executed by our west coast colleagues—and treat our audiences to the Paul G. Allen Family Collection’s landscape masterworks,” says Director Dorothy Kosinski. “Mr. Allen’s keen personal vision is evident in his collection, not unlike that of museum founder Duncan Phillips, whose collecting style was driven by his own passions and aesthetics.”
Seeing Nature showcases the development of landscape painting from intimate views of the world to artists’ personal experiences with their surroundings. The exhibition begins with Jan Brueghel the Younger’s 17th-century allegorical series of paintings of the five senses—exceptional works which provide a platform for visitors to consider their own encounters with nature through sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste.
Venice is sumptuously represented throughout the exhibition through stunning Venetian scenes by Canaletto, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and J. M. W. Turner, among others. These masterworks demonstrate the power of landscape to define time and place and to record, explore, and understand the natural and man-made world.
Other highlights include five Monet landscapes spanning thirty years, from views of the French countryside to one of his late immersive representations of water lilies, Le Bassin aux Nymphéas (1919);
evocative paintings by Paul Cézanne and Gustav Klimt; as well as modern and contemporary perspectives of landscapes by 20th-century artists as diverse as David Hockney, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gerhard Richter, and Ed Ruscha.
“The extraordinary exhibition provides a rare view of the Northwest’s most significant private art collection,” says Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs Klaus Ottmann. “It allows us to see nature in new imaginative ways through the eyes of artists ranging from the 17th century to the present, many of whom are new to The Phillips Collection.”
Seeing Nature is co-organized by Portland Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and the Paul G. Allen Family Collection. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Vulcan Inc. has also provided generous in-kind support.