Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Past Exhibitions

< >

Seeing Nature

Feb 16 – May 23 2017

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

Seeing Nature features 39 historically significant European and American landscape paintings from the past four hundred years. These diverse works offer a unique opportunity for visitors to see the natural world through the eyes of great artists.

The exhibition begins with Jan Brueghel the Younger’s allegorical series of the five senses. These exquisite, highly detailed paintings provide a platform for visitors to explore the exhibition by considering their own experience with the world through sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. The next section of the exhibition demonstrates the power of landscape to locate the viewer in time and place—to record, explore, and understand the natural and man-made world. Artists began to interpret the specifics of a picturesque city, a parcel of land, or dramatic natural phenomena. This collection features a stunning group of evocative Venetian scenes by Canaletto, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and J.M.W. Turner, among others. The exhibition also features a rare landscape masterpiece by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, Birch Forest of 1903.

The final section of the exhibition explores the paintings of European and American artists working in the complexity of the 20th century. In highly individualized ways, artists as diverse as Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, and Ed Ruscha bring fresh perspectives to traditional landscape subjects.

Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection 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
SAM Fund for Special Exhibitions

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

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

Image: View in Venice-The Grand Canal, 1874, Édouard Manet, French, 1832-1883, oil on canvas, 22 9/16 x 18 3/4 in., Paul G. Allen Family Collection.

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.