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The View from Here: The Pacific Northwest 1800-1930

August 8, 2003 ­ February 29, 2004


A provocative assembly of perspectives of the Northwest from outside and within will be on display in The View from Here: The Pacific Northwest 1800-1930, a collection counterpoint exhibition to Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art (Oct. 9, 2003 ­ Jan. 4, 2004) at Seattle Art Museum from August 8, 2003 ­ February 29, 2004. The View from Here presents a mosaic of attitudes and approaches of artists during a watershed period in Northwest history. Collection counterpoints provide additional insights and reinterpretations for special exhibitions and serves to thematically connect the museums galleries. (right: Albert Bierstadt, American, 1830-1902, Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast, 1870, oil on canvas, 52 1/2 x 82 inches, Gift of the Friends of American Art at the Seattle Art Museum, with additional funds from the General Acquisition Fund, 2000.70. Photo: Paul Macapia)

The exhibition focuses on 19th century views of the Pacific Northwest region and includes paintings, prints, photographs, objects and Native American sculpture and basketry. Approximately 30 works drawn from public, private and SAM's collection bring into focus the growth of the region as an artistic center and the ways in which notions of modernity and identity were brought to bear on art before the advent of the Northwest School painters.

After the devastation of the Civil War years, the sublime landscape of the West and fledgling Western settlements came to symbolize the resilient, regenerative, and resourceful nature of the American character. The exhibition provides an array of views from objects of Native American tribes to landscape vistas seen through the exacting eyes of maritime scientists or through the romantic lens of eastern visitors whose grand visions piqued the curiosity of East Coast audiences. Artists, whether local or attached to scientific surveys or acting as free-lancing entrepreneurs, recorded the pristine wilderness as well as the growing cities of the Pacific Northwest.

The View from Here encompasses the landscape genre, artworks of indigenous peoples including the Salish and Makah tribes and individuals who came to call the Northwest their home. Works featured in the exhibition include an 1801 silver Indian Peace Medal carried as a token of friendship by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Albert Bierstadt's, Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast (1870), Imogen Cunningham's On Mt. Rainier #9 (1915) and Edward Curtis' Evening on Mt. Rainier (1904). Artists who came to call the region home often eschewed the landscapes grand panorama to capture more intimate scenes of natural beauty, visually exploring quiet neighborhoods settled by ethnically diverse communities, or portraying burgeoning waterfront commercial activities. (right: Soft Twined Storage Basket: Wolves and Salmon Gills (T'cayas), Native American, Skokomish, Twana, ca. 1910, cattail leaves, bear grass, and red cedar bark, H: 8 inches D: 10 1/4 inches, Gift of John H. Hauberg, 86.91. Photo: Paul Macapia)

As a collection counterpoint, The View from Here presents 19th century notions of modernity and identity while Baja to Vancouver updates viewers by focusing on recent artworks, which respond to and engage with the West Coast's physical and social landscapes. The View from Here is curated by Barbara Brotherton, Curator of Native American Art and Julie Emerson, The Ruth J. Nutt Curator of Decorative Arts.

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