The rain of Seattle kept me inside this spring (plus I've been decorating the new house) so I had no idea that the special exhibition "Seeing Nature" (a collection of landscape masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection) was closing so soon. Get thee to the Seattle Art Museum before May 23.
I am very new to Seattle and am very interested to learn about influential figures in the area. It is unlikely that I will ever run into Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) at a party, but if I ever do I can now chit chat with him about his landscape art collection.
What first struck me was that while all technically landscapes, the styles are so diverse. I would love to have heard the logic behind curating this collection. Some paintings are cram jam with perfectly represented objects, like Jan Brueghel the Younger's The Five Senses: Sight. The happy clutter reminds me of my old studio on a busy day.
And then not much farther into the collection we see the dreary gray and black gas station known as Untitled by Ed Ruscha. While it may convey a stark commentary on the place of energy in our past, it hardly seems to fit into the collection as a whole.
Yet that is the beauty of art; where color and content are in charge and the message is up for interpretation.
I found myself jealous of the Paul Allen who owned one of Monet's Water Lilies, happy for the Paul Allen who saw beauty in a psychedelic work titled The Grand Canyon by David Hockney and worried for the Paul Allen that selected Untitled by Ruscha. His life is surely as complicated as his art collection and I appreciate that he was willing to share it with the public.
People talk about the vastness of the ocean and how small it makes them feel. I get that feeling when I stand close to the dried paint of a masterwork.
The collection Seeing Nature includes 39 significant works that span 400 years and is only on display another week! The paintings are by a wide range of artists including Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne and Georgia O'Keeffe and I think you will have a thoughtful and interesting experience viewing them. Let me know what you think.