City: Seattle, WA
Museum/Gallery: Seattle Art Museum


Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection

February 16 through May 23, 2017

The evolution of European and American landscape painting across five centuries

Many of the works on view have never been publicly exhibited prior to this exhibition. As a starting point for considering European landscape painting and its relationship to sensory experience, the exhibition begins with Jan Brueghel the Younger’s allegorical series The Five Senses (ca. 1625).

jan-brueghel-the-younger_the-five-senses_smellJan Brueghel the Younger, “The Five Senses: Smell”, c. 1625. Oil on panel, 27 5/8 x 44 5/8 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection


jan-brueghel-the-younger_the-five-senses_sightJan Brueghel the Younger, “The Five Senses: Sight”, c. 1625. Oil on panel, 27 5/8 x 44 5/8 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection.

Evocative works interpreting Venice, Italy
 including paintings by Canaletto, Édouard Manet, and J.M.W. Turner.

Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, “The Grand Canal, Venice”, Looking South-East from San Stae to the Fabbriche Nuove di Rialto, c. 1738. Oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 30 5/8 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

Edouard Manet, “View in Venice- The Grand Canal,” 1874. Oil on canvas, 22 9/16 x 18 3/4 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

Joseph Mallord William Turner, “Depositing of John Bellini’s Three Pictures in La Chiesa Redentore, Venice”, 1841. Oil on canvas, 29 x 45 1/2 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

Significant examples of French Impressionism

Five paintings by Claude Monet, including The Water-Lily Pond (1919), as well as Paul Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire (1888-90). A rare landscape by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt—Birch Forest (1903)—immerses the viewer in a forest scene; surrealist works by Max Ernst and René Magritte introduce inventive approaches to the genre.

claude-monet_water-lily-pondClaude Monet, “Water Lily Pond”, 1919. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 78 7/8 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

Gustav Klimt, “Birch Forest”, 1903. Oil on canvas, 42 1/4 x 42 1/4 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

max-ernst_paysage-avec-lac-et-chimeresMax Ernst, “Paysage avec lac et chimères”, c. 1940. Collection © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS),New York / ADAGP, Paris

20th-century American landscape paintings

The final galleries present wide-ranging works depicting the Grand Canyon by Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Wesley Dow, and David Hockney, as well as more atmospheric, contemporary works by Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, and April Gornik.

Thomas Moran, “Grand Canyon of Arizona at Sunset”, 1909. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

Georgia O’Keeffe, “Black Iris VI”, 1936. Oil on canvas, 36 x 24 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection. © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Other ways to engage with the exhibition

Visitors can “paint” landscape postcards using touchscreens in the Digital Studio, and they can learn more about select paintings via an augmented reality smartphone experience, accessible on touchscreens in the galleries or via smartphone with the free Layar app.

Related Programs and Events
Art Beyond Sight and docent tours, as well as programs for educators and school groups, will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition in addition to the following public programs.

February 16.    Seeing Nature: Opening Celebration
Seattle Art Museum. Celebrate the exhibition, Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, with a free public opening event featuring music, performances, art-making, and more.

February 25.    Family Fun Workshop: Color Your World
Seattle Art Museum. Look closely at the bright reds, cool blues, and exciting yellows that artists use to paint beautiful landscapes. Ages 3-6 and caregivers.

March 2, April 6.    Teen Art Lab
Seattle Art Museum. Create a mural from natural materials in response to Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection. Support for teen programs is provided by Hearst Foundations.

March 3.    First Friday Lecture
Seattle Art Museum. Join Chiyo Ishikawa, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, as she discusses Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection. Free and open to the public.

March 16, April 20, May 18.    Seeing Nature: Soundscapes
Seattle Art Museum. Explore the sights and sounds of nature with our pop-up in-gallery performances. Every third Thursday of the month. Free with admission.

March 18.    Family Fun Workshop: Hearing Nature
Seattle Art Museum. Uncover the connection between music and painting in this lively workshop. Ages 6-10 and caregivers.

March 24.   SAM Remix
Seattle Art Museum. #SAMRemix returns for an evening of performances, tours, dancing, creating, and exploring SAM’s collection and special exhibitions. Choose your own adventure during this creative late-night out inspired by Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection. Remix is sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Company. Supporting sponsor is Russell Investments. Media sponsors are The Stranger and KEXP 90.3 FM.

April 22.   Family Fun Workshop: All the Wild Things
Seattle Art Museum. Spot all the wild things in art. Whether it’s colorful flowers, big animals, or teeny tiny blades of
grass, discover and learn about art and create a landscape based on all the wonders you see. Ages
3-6 and caregivers.

May 13.   Family Fun Workshop: Globe-Trotting
Seattle Art Museum. Discover cities near and far as you travel through art across the globe. Sail through the canals of
Venice, walk the ramparts of the Coliseum, explore rainy Seattle, and then work in the studio to
create your own 3-dimensional city. Ages 6-10 and caregivers.

April & May, Dates TBA.    SAM Creates: Landscape
Seattle Art Museum & Olympic Sculpture Park.  Two week-long intensive art-making workshops every day from 1-4 pm lead by local artists, focused on the techniques of landscape painting in diverse media.


kimerly-rorshach_w“With Paul Allen’s commitment to this city, it’s especially fitting that Seattle is the final stop for this exhibition of incredible works,” says Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO. “Seeing Nature presents an extraordinary opportunity for audiences to see these landscape masterpieces that are rarely displayed publicly.”



chiyio-ishikawa_w“For centuries, artists have used landscape painting to explore the human connection to nature,” says Chiyo Ishikawa, SAM’s Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture. “These masterworks reveal the genre as a vehicle to evoke a particular place and, in many cases, express an emotional state. In some ways, they all reflect a subjective idea of nature—whether exalting it, feeling nostalgia for a lost ideal, or expressing discomfort with the state of the world. We Seattleites, who live in a place of stunning natural beauty and dramatic weather changes, understand that our relationship with the landscape is very personal.”


seeing nature catalogueCatalogue
Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks
from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection

A 158-page full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition. It features an interview with Paul Allen and a foreword by Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, and Brian J. Ferriso, PAM’s Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Director. Chiyo Ishikawa wrote the introductory essay.



Exhibition Organization and Support

The exhibition 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.

Special exhibitions at SAM are made possible by donors to

Presenting Sponsors

Major Sponsor

Supporting Sponsor:
Perkins Coie LLP

Generous Support:
Kreielsheimer Exhibition Endowment
Mary and Dean Thornton Endowment
Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS)

Additional Support
Contributors to the SAM Fund

Hotel Sponsor
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

Family Fun Workshops presented by DELTA

Support for Family Fun Workshops provided by The Thanksgiving Foundation

Vulcan Inc. has also provided generous in-kind support.

paul-g-allenAbout Paul G. Allen’s VULCAN Inc. 
Vulcan Inc. creates and advances a variety of world-class endeavors and high-impact initiatives that change and improve the way people live, learn, do business and experience the world. Founded in 1986 by philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul G. Allen, Vulcan oversees various business and charitable projects including real estate holdings, investments in dozens of companies, including the Seattle Seahawks NFL, Seattle Sounders FC Major League Soccer, and Portland Trail Blazers NBA franchises, First & Goal Inc., the Seattle Cinerama Theatre, Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Allen Institute for Cell Science and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Paul and Vulcan’s commitment to arts and culture includes exploring different models for elevating and enriching the arts. Recent examples include the Seattle Art Fair, the traveling exhibition, Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, a public art projection to light St. Peter’s Basilica and inspire action around the climate crisis and the public art installations throughout the city of Seattle. For more information, visit Photo: Paul G. Allen


Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue. Seattle, WA 98101

About Seattle Art Museum

a_SAM1As the leading visual art institution in the Pacific Northwest, SAM draws on its global collections, powerful exhibitions, and dynamic programs to provide unique educational resources benefiting the Seattle region, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond.

SAM was founded in 1933 with a focus on Asian art. By the late 1980s the museum had outgrown its original home, and in 1991 a new 155,000-square-foot downtown building, designed by Robert Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, opened to the public. The 1933 building was renovated and reopened as the Asian Art Museum in 1994.

SAM’s desire to further serve its community was realized in 2007 with the opening of two stunning new facilities: the nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park (designed by Weiss/Manfredi Architects)—a “museum without walls,” free and open to all—and the Allied Works Architecture designed 118,000-square-foot expansion of its main, downtown location, including 232,000 square feet of additional space built for future expansion.
From a strong foundation of Asian art to noteworthy collections of African and Oceanic art, Northwest Coast Native American art, European and American art, and modern and contemporary art, the strength of SAM’s collection of approximately 25,000 objects lies in its diversity of media, cultures and time periods.