New exhibitions at GRAM

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The Striped Skirt by Mathias J. Alten. Courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum

The Grand Rapids Art Museum will showcase new exhibitions this fall. The exhibitions are Mathias J. Alten: An Enduring Legacy, and Hand and Machine Harmony: Regional Arts & Crafts. 

Mathias J. Alten: An Enduring Legacy exhibition will feature the evolution of the 20th-century artist’s paintings on canvas. Murals, stained glass windows and a selection of Alten’s private sketchbooks will also be on display.

All the items presented will be from GRAM’s permanent collection, the Grand Valley State University Art Gallery and Grand Rapids Public Library, as well as works from private collections. The exhibition will be showcased until April 24. 

“Mathias Alten emigrated from Germany to Michigan at age 17 in 1889, where he spent the majority of his career painting and teaching in downtown Grand Rapids. Nearing the 150th anniversary of Alten’s birth, An Enduring Legacy celebrates his contribution to the arts in our city,” said GRAM Director and CEO Dana Friis-Hansen. “The exhibition includes paintings from throughout Alten’s career—including rarely seen artworks in other media and of monumental scale—offering our guests the chance to discover his work in a new way.”

The Machine Harmony: Regional Arts & Crafts exhibition will be in two parts, which will highlight the arts and crafts movement and its influence in West Michigan and the Midwest as a whole. The first part of the exhibition will be on view from Oct. 24 – Jan. 23 and the second part will run from Feb. 13 – April 24. 

The works of Grand Rapids designers Charles P. Limbert, Albert Stickley and Forrest Emmerson Mann will be on display. The designers merged fine craftsmanship and style of the English arts and crafts movement with factory production. By creating a harmony between machine production and handwork, Limbert, Stickley and Mann produced furniture and décor.

An Enduring Legacy provides an ideal opportunity to consider other creatives in Grand Rapids during the same period,” said GRAM Chief Curator Ron Platt. “In the early twentieth century, Grand Rapids’ reputation as the Furniture City was due in large part to the cultural popularity of Arts and Crafts furniture and décor. Mann, Limbert and Stickley were responsible for some of the most beautiful and inventive Arts and Crafts design being produced at the time.” 

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