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  • Portland Art MuseumPortland Art Museum Portland, Oregon
    The Portland Art Museum (PAM) began in 1892, in Portland, Oregon and is the oldest art museum on the west coast, as well as the 7th oldest in the nation. When the latest remodeling was finished, it became one of the 25 biggest art museums in the country, containing 240,000 square feet of space that houses over 42,000 artworks and a big traveling exhibition that is shown the majority of the time. The museum highlights the works of the Native American, northwest art, modern and contemporary art, an outdoor public sculpture garden and Asian artworks. Another part of the museum is the Northwest Film Center; allowing the museum to fulfill its mission of giving art to the community of the best quality, as well as educating them about the beauty and excitement of art now and in the future. Back in 1892, seven leaders of the city's business and cultural institutions came together and signed letters of incorporation that began the Portland Art Association, with the intent of beginning a high class art museum that would be available to all of the community. The museum was able to make its first purchase of 100 plaster casts of ancient Roman and Greek sculptures with a generous donation from Henry Corbett; while another local patron, Winslow B. Ayer and his wife went to Europe to pick out the casts after getting some valuable advice from the professionals at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. That first collection would be called the Corbett Collection and was exhibited at the new museum's first locale in the upper hall of the new library building in Portland. It became quickly obvious that the museum's exhibit was well received, becoming quite popular with the school groups, art groups and other visitors. When the Lewis and Clark Exposition was held in Portland in 1905, the museum was larger than the space it occupied and moved into its own space, nearby. The new location's first display showcased watercolors and paintings that were in the city because of the exposition. In 1908, the museum received its first piece of original art, "Afternoon Sky, Harney Desert" by American impressionist, Childe Hassam, who visited the counties of Harney and Malheur with his good friend C. E. S. Wood, one of the state's earliest cultural icons. Anna Belle Crocker would succeed Henrietta Failing as the next curator in 1909 and she stayed at the museum until she retired in 1936, becoming the first head of the museum art school that opened the same year and is now called the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Near the end of 1913, the museum hosted a wonderful exhibition that highlighted many pieces that were on display at the famous 1913 New York Armory Show, that would introduce audiences to modern art, with works by Matisse, Cezanne, Renoir, van Gogh, Manet, Gaugin and other well known artists. One of the pieces was a controversial painting called "The Nude Descending a Staircase" by Marcel Duchamp. WWI came and went with the museum still growing, and in 1920, it hosted two displays by Sally Lewis, the daughter of a well known Portland family, that had become friends with such notable artists as Constantin Brancusi, Arthur B. Davies, Matisse and Picasso while traveling in Europe. In 1923, she organized an exhibition that contained 44 works by Andre Derain, Picasso and Matisse, as well as American modernists like Max Weber, Charles Burchfield and Maurice Prendergast. Sally was among the 22 patrons that purchased a painting by Derain called "Tree" for the museum's permanent collection. Because Sally's first exhibition had been met with such success, she attempted another, daring one that juxtaposed paintings, sculptures and drawings from Europe with African masks. One of the sculptures that were in it was Brancusis A Muse, that was owned by Lewis and she gave it to the museum in 1959. During the 1930s, the museum would move into its third and last locale, just off the South Park Blocks in downtown Portland, which had been designed by well known Portland architect Pietro Belluschi and it opened in 1932, replacing the Ladd School, that was often referred to as the Park School and had been the biggest in the city in 1914, with 1176 students. The opening exhibition in the new home showcased the latest gift; the Mary Andrew Ladd collection of 750 Japanese prints, even today, one of the most prominent collections of its kind. Almost six years later, the museum had more construction going on with a new wing to add more space that was needed. It was named the Hirsch Wing, again designed by Pietro Belluschi and funded by a generous donation by Ella Hirsch, in honor of her parents, Solomon and Josephine Hirsch. When that wing opened in 1939, it essentially doubled the available exhibition space for the museum. The museum would celebrate its 50th anniversary quietly in 1942, because of WWII, but in the next year, after finishing its first ever full inventory, they found that the museum held 3300 objects and 750 artworks on loan for long terms. During the 1950s, the museum would host a number of record setting displays, like the 1956 exhibit that brought 55,000 visitors to the institution in a six week period showcasing works from the collection of Walter Chrysler and organized at the Portland museum so that it could go on a tour of nine cities. In 1959, over 80,000 came for the Vincent van Gogh display, with the proceeds from this marvelous show allowing the museum to buy Water Lilies by Claude Monet. That decade also saw the creation of the museum's Docent Council that would make a nucleus of volunteers that still serve the museum today.

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  • Pittock MansionPittock Mansion Portland, Oregon
    The Pittock Mansion is located in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, and is a French Renaissance style chateau that was constructed for The Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana. The spectacular 22 room estate is constructed of Tenino sandstone and sits so grandly on its 46 acre landscaped homestead. It is now the proud possession of the Parks and Recreation bureau of the city, allowing magnificent panoramic views of the city's downtown area. It was the site of a political scandal in 1911, when one of the members of the city council, Will H. Daly, that brought the public's attention to Henry using a water line to the construction project that was paid for by the city, even though it was a half mile outside of the city. This incident would become the basis for a continuing feud between the two men, that would eventually lead to the end of the councilman's political career. Georgiana would go on to become one of the founders of the Portland Rose Festival, and passed on in 1918, at the age of 72; with Henry following soon after in 1919, at age 84. The family stayed in the mansion until 1958, as Eric Ladd, who had been in the mansion for four years, and Peter Gantebein, one of the grandsons who had been born in the house, put it on the market to sell, although they weren't successful. The Columbus Day Storm in 1962, would damage the house severely and they thought about taking it down completely, but the community was able to raise $75,000 in three months that helped the city buy it. Since the mansion was obviously so popular and had great value as a historical site, the city bought it in 1964 for $225,000. It took 15 months to bring it back to its original condition, and it opened in 1965 for public tours. About 80,000 people come each year to visit this historical and magnificent mansion. Since it sits about 1000 feet above sea level, it has become the best place to come and watch the many beautiful birds that frequent the grounds. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and presently, the city believes that there is about $6-8 million of repairs needed.

January 11, 2011