The museum’s largest collecting focus is on art created in the American Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana), with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. The Northwest Collection traces the history of modern and contemporary art in the region and includes works by Oregon modernists C.S. Price, Charles Heaney, Amanda Snyder, Carl Hall, and Jan Zach. Contemporary artists include Fay Jones, Michael Spafford, Michael Dailey, Gaylen Hansen, and Dan Webb of Washington, and Oregon artists Frank Boyden, Michael Brophy, George Johanson, Lucinda Parker, and Mel Katz, among others.
This collection also includes work by contemporary Native American artists from the Pacific Northwest, including work by Rick Bartow, Joe Feddesen, James Lavadour, Marie Watt, and Lillian Pitt, among others.
Willamette University’s Pacific Northwest Art and Artists Archive is a resource for research on regional artists.
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Robert C. Jones (b. 1930)
Constance Edith Fowler (1907-1996)
George Johanson (b. 1928)
George Johanson, a major Oregon modernist, painted this work in response to the eruption of Mount Saint Helen's in 1980. The fiery palette, sense of flickering light, air-borne cat and streamer, funnels of smoke from the cigarette and fire from the mountain, and the precariously balanced eggs on the window ledge and ruler all suggest the seemingly perilous coexistence of nature and
Harry Widman (b. 1929)
Tom Foolery (b. 1947)
Manuel Izquierdo (1925-2009)
Manuel Izquierdo, who arrived in Portland in 1942 as a teenaged refugee from wartime Europe, established himself as a leading Oregon sculptor and printmaker in a career spanning six decades. Particularly noted for his welded metal forms, he also created sculpture in cast metal, wood, stone, and ceramic. As a printmaker, he specialized in woodcuts. Izquierdo was born in a working-class barrio in Madrid, the oldest of three children of an artisan family. During World War II, with the support of the American Friends Service Committee, he and his siblings immigrated to Portland. Izquierdo enrolled at the Museum Art School, where he studied sculpture with Frederic Littman and printmaking with William Givler and Louis Bunce. He completed the program at the school in 1951 and took a teaching position there. He retired in 1997 after forty-six years on the faculty. The Hallie Ford Museum will stage a retrospective exhibition of Izquierdo's work in 2013.
James Castle (1900-1977)
William Hubert Givler (1908-2000)
Driftage, one of Givler's most important paintings, was exhibited in the Oregon Annual for 1949 at the Portland Art Museum; the Oregon Centennial Exhibition of 1959 at the Portland Art Museum; and the exhibition 'Art of the Pacific Northwest,' presented in 1974 at the Smithsonian Institution, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Portland Art Museum. The first owner of Driftage was Stewart H. Holbrook, the Oregon author, who wrote of it in the Sunday Oregonian Magazine (January 8, 1950): 'I never saw, in life, a beach like that portrayed in 'Driftage,' nor a sky, nor a woman. Yet the total effect was little short of a blow - a scene of a brooding, sinister sky, of winds wild beyond knowing, of chaotic flotsam some to shore, of the figure of a girl who might well have been a witch of the storm, or some siren of the reefs - a scene both foreboding and beautiful, filled with the savage movement of unseen forces, with disturbing forms and
Carl Hall (1921-1996);
Carl Hall, a Midwest Magic Realist painter who first saw Oregon as an Army draftee assigned to Camp Adair for basic training, settled permanently in Salem after serving in the Pacific during World War II. He is the quintessential painter of the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast, but in the 1970s he began to spend summers and Willamette University sabbaticals in Alaska, which provided him with stunning new subject matter. Fog Woman Totem is one of a number of paintings in Hall's Alaska Set, a series that deals with Northwest Coast Indian totem poles. In this case, the totem is partially blocked by a panel, perhaps an artist's board, with a rendering of gnarled branches-a signature motif in Hall's paintings and drawings.
Jack McLarty (1919-2011)
Giant in Trouble' shows a recurring figure in McLarty's art--a bloated giant seemingly bent on destruction. At the same time, his paintings convey a frightful gaiety as, in this work, the giant is overwhelmed by acrobatic figures and forms, whimsical helicopters and airplanes, and animals suggestive of the pottery that the McLartys collected during their many trips to Mexico. Between the giant's legs a volcanic mountain in ringed by clouds, and a boat with twin stacks plies the waters on one of Portland's
Fay Jones (b. 1936)
Theodore J. Waddell (b. 1941)
Louis Bunce (1907-1983);
Louis Bunce told his friend George Johanson that this work was inspired by the terrain and highway along the Oregon coast and the rounded forms of mid-century American automobiles. The title Journey may refer both to the scenery at the coast and the vehicle used for touring there.
Gaylen Hansen (b. 1921)
Robert Adams (b. 1937)
Michael C. Spafford (b. 1935)
Mary Henry (1913-2009)
Mary Henry was born in Sonoma, California, in 1913 and died in Freeland, Washington, in 2009. She received her BFA degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts and her MFA degree from the Illinois Institute of Design, where she studied with the Hungarian-born painter László Moholy-Nagy. Although she remained firmly rooted in the fundamental principles of Constructivism and geometric abstract art, Henry preferred to work independently rather than associate her work with any particular art movement or style.Henry was married to her childhood friend Wilbur Henry for twenty-four years and they had two children. Their daughter, Suzanne Rahn, is a retired professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Their son, William, owned and operated a motel in California before he was tragically killed in an automobile accident in the 1970s. According to Henry, orange was William's favorite color and Orange for William was painted after his death in his honor and memory.
Rick Bartow (b. 1946)
Central to Bartow's work is the theme of connection and transformation, particularly between the human and animal realms, and between corporeal and spiritual dimensions of existence. This carving, Salmon Prayer, manifests the relationship between people and salmon that are celebrated in Northwest coast cultures and affirms the redemptive power of ceremony in restoring the endangered creatures.
Lucinda Parker (b. 1942)
C.S. Price (1874-1950)
Amanda Snyder (1894-1980);
Amanda Snyder is well known for her paintings of birds, dolls, clowns, and still life, but her renderings of architectural structures are less frequently seen even though they comprise a significant category of her work. She said that beginning in the 1930s "I built my little city of cardboard houses. They were my models. That is what Price used to do. But I did it even before I knew Price." Whether or not she worked from models in this painting, the block-like shapes and close clustering of the houses suggest the possibility. Clayton Sumner Price, generally recognized as Oregon's first great modernist painter, settled in Portland in 1929, and Snyder met him that year. Price, Snyder, and their mutual friend Charles Heaney, who also painted from architectural models, became artistic soul mates beginning in the 1930s.
Roger Shimomura (b. 1939)
David Giese (b. 1944)
Paris was the son of Priam, king of Troy. At a wedding Paris was asked to judge a beauty contest between the goddesses Juno, Minerva and Venus. Paris chose Venus, who offered him the beautiful Helen of Troy. In anger, one of the spurned goddesses sent two succubi (evil spirits meant to have intercourse with a sleeping man) to Paris while he slept. After Paris was seduced and lost his purity, he was stripped of his powers by the gods and , over time, became an embittered man.This work, excavated by Professor Giese from the Gallery of Virtues in 1994, may have been painted by the great Rococo painter Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770), who is thought to have worked at the villa at various times during his career. His bright, cheerful colors and relaxed compositions were ideally suited to the various Rococo additions to the house.
Alfredo Arreguin (b. 1935)
Clarice Dreyer (b. 1946)
Terry Toedtemeier (1947-2008)
Terry Toedtemeier was a curator and historian of photography as well as a highly regarded photographic artist. As a student at Oregon State University, he majored in geology, and rock formations and topography in general became his abiding interest as a photographer. He was particularly fascinated by the terrain of the Columbia River Gorge and made numerous photographs of that dramatic region. In his role as photography curator at the Portland Art Museum, Toedtemeier organized a major exhibition entitled "Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867 - 1957," on view through January 11, 2009. He and an associate had just given a talk in Hood River on the exhibition and the book published to accompany it, when Terry Toedtemeier died unexpectedly on December 10, 2008.
Charles Edward Heaney (1897-1981)
The stateways and highways of Central and Eastern Oregon and Nevada are a recurring subject for Charles Heaney. Vast terrain, mountains in the distance, specks of vegetation (and occasionally specks of civilization), and a profound sense of isolation characterize these landscape paintings filled with light, atmosphere, and endless space. Heaney came to know Oregon's highway system firsthand in the period 1929-1932, when he worked in the sign department of the Oregon State Motor Association. In later years, he traveled Oregon's highways on his annual vacations, gradually extending his trips deeper and deeper into Nevada.