We received the sad news of Alden Mason’s death yesterday. The loss will be felt deeply in the arts community and beyond. Mason won a Mayor’s Arts Award in 2005 (photo left). The city also owns a number of his paintings as part of the portable works collection including the one featured below, Goodbye Love, from 2001. Other works include Center Blue (1978) and John Likes Himself (1984), both of which can be found in City Hall, and a series of four connected pieces that make up Seattle City Light Promenade (1987) that hang at McCall Hall.
Born in 1919 in Everett, Washington, Alden Mason grew up in the rural Northwest. He decided on art as a career after enrolling in classes at the University of Washington. There, he went from art student to art teacher, and taught until 1981, when he retired to paint full time. Alden gained national recognition with his “Burpee Garden” paintings in the 1970s. Alden Mason’s paintings hang in many major museums and collections. In a 2004 artist statement, he wrote, “My paintings are a private world of improvisation, spontaneity, humor and pathos, exaggeration and abandon. The images and shapes are often figurative, organic personal totems which in closer view become highly abstract. They reflect my travels and interest in tribal art and children’s’ art. Old-fashioned emotional involvement is still my main priority in painting.”
While we mourn the loss of this great artist, we are grateful to have so many of his great works in Seattle.
Images (top): Alden Mason accepting a Mayor’s Arts Award in 2005, Photographer: Jennifer Richard; (bottom) Alden Mason, Goodbye Love, 2001, Acrylic on canvas, 60” x 60”, Photographer: Spike Mafford Photography