The Gordon GalleryView all stories
In 1998, George and Barbara Gordon donated 36 paintings from their private collection to Grand Valley State University. Today their gift, works by renowned Michigan artist Mathias J. Alten, has doubled in size.
Housed in the George and Barbara Gordon Gallery on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus, the paintings are the largest public collection of the artist in the world and attract over 5,000 visitors every year. The gallery’s significant growth and popularity have allowed Grand Valley to share the collection with those outside of their community and this year, the university is bringing a portion of the exhibit to the von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida.
“The Gordon’s are proof of what passion can achieve,” said Thomas J. Haas, president of Grand Valley. “Their generosity provides many more people the opportunity to enjoy Mathias Alten and find new enrichment in his art.”
This generosity has also inspired Alten gifts from others, including the Alten family. In addition to loaned and promised paintings, Alten’s granddaughters have given the university his many personal and professional papers – all of which are housed in the Gordon Gallery. In 2008, this space was rededicated and reopened during an Alten celebration. A major construction project, made possible by another generous gift from the Gordons, added 723 square feet to the gallery and doubled its original size.
“To me, this expansion turned a room with paintings hung on the walls into a true gallery,” George Gordon said. “It brings out the best of Alten’s craft and color.”