Alden Mason was an alum (BA 1942, MFA 1947) and professor emeritus of the School of Art. He began teaching here in 1946 and was appointed as an assistant professor in 1952. Mason was promoted to associate professor in 1957, became a full professor in 1965, and was designated a professor emeritus in 1981. A few of his notable students were Whiting Tennis, Roger Shimomura, Gene Gentry McMahon, and Chuck Close. He also had a successful career as a painter, and his work is represented in numerous public collections, including Denver Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Portland Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Art, and Seattle Art Museum. Mason passed away in 2013 at the age of 93.
Since 2017, the Alden Mason Foundation has shepherded a project to create a comprehensive monograph of Mason's work. The book has over 200 pages, with lavish reproductions of Mason’s paintings and drawings, and it was designed by Phil Kovacevitch of New York. Three writers explore various aspects of Mason’s art throughout his long and active art career. The primary essayist, Roger Hull, writes about the artist's life, career, teaching, and work. Regina Hackett focuses on the Burpee Garden era and related work, and Robert Ayers examines the role of figuration in Mason’s work. The book is being published by University of Washington Press and will be available this summer through the press, the exhibition venues listed below, and book stores.
Alden Mason: Fly Your Own Thing
Bellevue Arts Museum, May 14 – October 10, 2021
This is the first comprehensive museum exhibition of Mason's work since his passing. It is guest curated by Roger Hull, a professor emeritus of art history from Willamette University who helped with the founding of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.
There is an online discussion between Roger Hull and Bellevue Arts Museum Associate Curator Lane Eagles on Thursday, June 24, from 6–7pm. Registration is required.
Alden Mason: A Teacher's Legacy
Foster/White Gallery, June 3 – July 24, 2021
The Alden Mason Foundation and this gallery are presenting an exhibition of undergraduate student work created in the painting, drawing, watercolor, and design classes Mason taught from 1960 through 1980. The exhibition is comprised of exemplary work that Mason routinely archived to inspire his future students.
Proceeds from the sales of the student artworks benefit the Alden Mason Foundation and will help to establish a scholarship in Mason’s name through our School. A Chuck Close watercolor from this collection will be sold by the gallery via auction later in June.
Also on view is a selection of Mason’s artwork, ranging from large-scale paintings to smaller works on paper.
Alden Mason: Tribute
Greg Kucera Gallery, June 3 – July 10, 2021
A variety of paintings and drawings are on display. Be sure to read Kucera's essay on his experiences with Mason, both as a student and gallerist. The gallery has a parallel exhibition of watercolors by Ray Hill, a University of Washington professor who was Mason's mentor.