Oregon Basks in the Vast Collection of the Portland Art Museum
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Having the privilege of being one of the oldest museums in the United States and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum has most certainly earned the honor of being recognized internationally for its permanent collection, as well as its tremendous exhibitions that are drawn from some of the world’s finest public and private art collections.
Founded in late 1892, the Portland Art Museum has grown over time to include more than 50,000 objects, displayed in 112,000 square feet of galleries. The focus of the pieces is expansive, including everything from the history of art found in ancient times to that of modern art being created by the genius minds of today. This collection is extraordinarily unique with its native and cultural artifacts, English silver, and a foray into the graphic arts. They are so enriched that the museum utilizes ninety percent of its total gallery space for this permanent collection.
This is not your ordinary museum, however. It is actually a campus of landmark buildings that make the cornerstone of Portland’s cultural district; included with the museum is the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, the Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, and the Northwest Film Center. Serving over 350,000 visitors annually, this is definitely the premier venue for education in the visual arts.
To outline the ‘sections’ the museum represents, visitors not only view American Art, Asian Art and European Art, but the Graphic Arts section shows how and why this particular arena has been an integral part of the museum’s holdings since its beginning. In fact, they constitute the largest part of the collection, with more than 20,000 drawings, prints, posters, and artists’ books, spanning more than five hundred years.
Modern and Contemporary Art is also offered, and Native American Art recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. Other areas include Northwest Art, Photography, and Silver. The latter is the museum’s extraordinary collection of silver art that is known well by scholars. The newest gallery displays more than 100 pieces from this collection, which ranges from the 15th century to mid-Victorian silver pieces.
From a Mount St. Helens exhibit to a Portraiture from the Collection of Northwest Art that runs through August of 2021, the history of this incredible state is laid out for one and all to see. Remarkably varied, the themes and styles of each individual exhibition are something you will never forget.
An upcoming exhibit that’s already being talked about and one that nobody should miss will begin on January 30, 2021, and run for four months. Entitled “Ansel Adams in Our Time,” it will celebrate the legacy of this acclaimed American photographer who most everyone knows. He created some of the most iconic images in the U.S., from the snow-dusted peaks in The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942); to the sublime Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (1960). More than 100 photographs by Adams will be displayed alongside photographers’ images that came both before and after his time. Visitors will better understand the creative power of Ansel Adams that will last for future generations to witness.
If wishing to visit the incredible state of Oregon – whether it be to enjoy the history or journey through some of the most stunning nature imaginable – make sure to visit the Portland Art Museum in order to feast your eyes on this one-of-a-kind collection.
Learn more about visiting: In-person public programs and Northwest Film Center screenings in the Whitsell Auditorium remain canceled until further notice. Visit our calendar and our PAM + NWFC at Home blog for upcoming virtual programs. Some galleries and exhibitions are open on a rotating basis, so please visit the exhibitions page prior to visiting the museum. www.portlandartmuseum.org.
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