Holland Museum exhibit to celebrate legacy of artist Mathias Alten

A new Holland Museum exhibit celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mathias Alten, one of West Michigan’s most recognized artists. 

The new exhibit, Mathias Alten: Beyond the Oil Paintings, displays some of the artist’s unique watercolors and sketches from the Grand Valley State University Art Gallery Collection, which is the largest public collection of his work.

The exhibit runs from March 12 through July 25, 2021.

Only place to see images

While well-known for his oil paintings, Alten produced sketches and watercolors with a variety of subject matter. The Holland Museum will be the only venue hosting these images this year. In addition to these rarely seen pieces, the exhibit will also feature a timeline of the artist's life, from his birth in Germany to his passing in 1938. 

“We are thrilled to partner with GVSU Art Gallery to host this birthday celebration,” says Executive Director Ricki Levine. “The watercolors and sketches highlight a transformative artist,  rooted in West Michigan.” 

In 2019, the museum received a donation of Alten’s work from his granddaughter, Anita M. Gilleo, and hosted an exhibit of his work. Alten’s connection to West Michigan and the Netherlands continues to be important to the Holland community, and this exhibit will celebrate his legacy.  

In addition to the exhibit

Two virtual programs are planned to accompany the exhibit:

Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m. 
Inside the Artist’s Mind: Mathias Alten’s Drawings with Michigan artist and teacher Royce Deans. 

Thursday, May 13, 7 p.m. 
The Artistic Practice: Exploring Mathias J. Alten’s Medium of Choice with Joel Zwart, curator of exhibitions at the GVSU Art Gallery. 

The museum is located across from Centennial Park at 31 W. 10th St. For more information, call 616-796-3329. 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.