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Seeing Nature

Feb 16 – May 23

Seattle Art Museum

Seeing Nature features 39 historically significant European and American landscape paintings from the past 400 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, Edouard 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.

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