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Maryhill Masterpieces

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Arts, Culture & Media

We have a visual treat for you today.

You expect to find fine art in Paris, New York, Seattle, and other large cities.  But there’s a remarkable art collection on display in a world class museum far from any city.  The Maryhill Museum of Art is perched above the Columbia Gorge south of Goldendale in the state of Washington.  Originally built nearly one hundred years ago as the intended home of businessman Sam Hill, the building wasn’t completed until after Hill’s death and opened as an art museum in 1940.  Although Hill didn’t live to see the finished facility, his influence is unmistakable in the eclectic collection.  The Thinker, a plaster of one of the most recognizable sculptures in art (below, right), was created by Auguste Rodin, famous sculptor and friend of Sam Hill.  Queen Marie of Romania, another friend, donated the museum’s Orthodox icons and royal treasures. The queen even traveled to Maryhill for the museum’s dedication.

That’s only the beginning. Thanks to additional gifts and purchases, Maryhill is also home to many European paintings, French fashion mannequins, unique chess sets, and an extensive collection of native American artifacts.

When I first visited Maryhill some 20 years ago, I was in awe of the setting: a castle-like mansion on six thousand acres of shaded picnic areas and gardens, with a wandering flock of peacocks and peahens.  It wasn’t until my second visit that I truly fell in love with some of the art inside.  After my fifth museum visit this summer, I asked Steven L. Grafe, Maryhill’s Curator of Art, if he would share some of the art from the collection.  He kindly agreed and his visual list (shown below in four categories) is a gallery of his personal favorites.  Enjoy them here.  Better yet, see them in person.

  • Location:  35 Maryhill Museum Drive, overlooking the Columbia River on Washington’s SR 14, just west of US 97 and across the Biggs Rapids-Sam Hill Bridge from I-84.
  • Hours:  Daily, 10 am – 5 pm (March 15-November 15)
  • Phone:  509-773-3733
  • WebsiteMaryhillMuseum.org
  • By the way:  The Museum is expanding.  A new 25,500 square foot wing is currently under construction on the south side facing the Columbia.


Stone Pile Driver
Middle Columbia River region, Pile Driver, pre-19th century, carved basalt, 10½” x 7” x 3½”
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. G.N. Gammon
Wasco Flat bag
Louise Van Pelt Spino (Wasco, 1897-1972), Twined Flat Bag, c. 1925, cornhusk, dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), cotton string and leather, 8½” x 10” (without handle)
Gift of Mary Underwood Lane
Berry basket
Nettie Jackson (Klikitat, born 1942), Cedar Root Berry Basket, 1983, Western redcedar (Thuja plicata), beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) and commercial dyes, 18” x 16”
Gift of Mary Dodds Schlick, in memory of William T. (Bud) Schlick, 1925-1992
Plateau Vest
Columbia River Plateau, Man’s Vest, c. 1910, glass beads, cloth, and thread, 22” x 17”
Museum purchase
Apache Olla
Western Apache, Polychrome Basketry Olla, c. 1890s, willow (Salix irrorata) and devil’s claw (Proboscidea louisianica), 29½” x 11½”
Gift of Dr. W. M. Fitzhugh Jr. and Marion E. Fitzhugh
Victor Hugo’s Funeral
Alfred Philippe Roll (French, 1846-1919), The Funeral of Victor Hugo, 1885, oil on canvas, 27” x 33”
Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels
The Musician
Edwin Howland Blashfield (American, 1848-1936), The Musician, 1874, oil on canvas, 36” x 26”
Gift of R.H. Ives Gammell
Lord Frederic, 1st Baron Leighton of Stretton (British, 1830-1896), Solitude, 1890, oil on canvas, 72” x 36”
Museum purchase
In the Trees
Eanger Irving Couse (American, 1866–1936), In the Trees, c. 1898, oil on canvas, 36” x 41”
From the Collection of George W. Shane Jr.
Columbia River
John Fery (American [born Austria], 1865-1934), Columbia River, c. 1910, oil on board, 20” x 39½”
Gift of Washington Good Roads Association
The Thinker
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917), The Thinker, 1880, plaster, 15” x 7½” x 7½”
Gift of Samuel Hill
Papilion (Butterfly)
Émile Gallé (French, 1846-1904), Papillon (Butterfly), c. 1900, glass, 15” x 4½”
Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels
Seraphin Soudbinine (French [born Russia], 1870-1944), Untitled, c, 1930, glazed ceramic with wooden base, 16” x 11¼” x 4”
Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels
St. Nicholas Icon
Gregory Trephonov Pavlikov (Russian, active early 20th century), St. Nicholas of Mozaisk Icon, 1906, egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 13” x 11⅞”
Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels
Crucifixion Icon
Russia, Icon with the Crucifixion, Christ Pantokrator, the Mother of God Bogulubskaya, the Kazan Mother of God and St. Charalampos, 19th century, egg tempera on wood panel, 20⅞” x 17”
Collection of Maryhill Museum of Art

SOURCE: Steve Grafe, curator at the Maryhill Museum of Art.

IMAGE of the Maryhill Museum © Steve Campion
IMAGES of art works are the property of the Maryhill Museum of Art and are used here by permission.


One Response to “Maryhill Masterpieces”

  1. Stephen Schafroth Says:

    What a wonder!