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About this Collection

The Northwest School Collection highlights the life and work of three influential figures who helped define the Northwest School—a 20th century art movement based in and around Skagit County, Washington and the greater Puget Sound region. The collection provides a look at the art and personal archives of Guy Anderson, Louis Mideke, and Charles Stokes. These materials have previously been accessible in physical format only.


Digitization of the collection has been a collaborative effort undertaken beginning in 2016 by the Museum of Northwest Art, the La Conner Regional Library District, and Western Washington University Libraries, Heritage Resources division. The project is supported by a grant from the Washington State Library with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Guy Anderson

Guy Anderson (1906-1998) was a painter who grew up in Edmonds, Washington, showing an interest in art and culture from a young age. After graduating from high school he studied with Alaskan scenic painter Eustace Ziegler—an experience that inspired Anderson's fondness for oil paints. Anderson won a Tiffany foundation scholarship and spent the summer of 1929 on Long Island. After that he moved back to Washington where he soon befriended a young Morris Graves and in the mid-1930s the duo traveled down the Oregon and California coast before coming back up to Seattle.


Towards the end of the Depression in 1939 Anderson found work with the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. Two years later he returned to Seattle, where he began working at the Seattle Art Museum. During the 1950s Anderson split his time between Seattle and La Conner, holding teaching positions in both cities. La Conner, Washington became his permanent home in 1959, a move that proved to be beneficial to his art. In 1966 he traveled to Europe for the first time. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and used the money to travel and study artwork in major east coast museums. In 1982 he traveled to Japan where there his artwork was featured. Anderson died in 1998 at the age of 91. For additional biographical details, see: Anderson, Guy (1906-1998), Painter [HistoryLink.org Essay 5157].

Louis Mideke

Louis Mideke (1908-1989) was a Washington artist whose works provide an excellent example of the Pacific Northwest ceramic style of utility, experimentation, and simplicity. He created accessible objects for everyday use while also fostering an environment of innovation. Born in Grandview, Washington, Mideke practiced art throughout his lifetime, eventually moving to Bellingham in 1947 with his wife, Jean, where he would later set up a shop to sell his artwork. Mideke was largely self-taught and found inspiration from Chinese and Japanese ceramics, and often used different glazes from these cultural traditions. While many of his pieces, such as cups, bowls, and plates, were purchased by people in the community for use in daily life, Mideke’s large decorative artworks ended up in museums and private collections. In summary, Mideke used a wide range of colors and a simple and utilitarian aesthetic to bring beauty into the homes of people in his community.

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Charles Stokes

Charles Stokes (1944-2008) was both a painter and sculptor, and is known for his detailed and inventive paintings, as well as his charismatic and energetic personality. The winner of the first Betty Bowen Award given by the Seattle Art Museum, Stokes went on to teach at the Cornish School of the Arts in Seattle, WA from 1969 to 1985. He primarily painted with watercolors and gouache, but later used acrylic when he moved to Manhattan in the 1990s. After marrying Irene Dowd, a professor of dance and anatomy at Juilliard, Stokes withdrew from the art world and did not seek gallery representation. Stokes died in his home of cancer in 2008. A large collection of his artworks were left to the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA. Stokes material digitized for this project includes a box of framed pencil sketches comprising a series drawn during Stokes' travels in Europe, 1977.

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Rights & Use

Each item in the Northwest School Collection has been assigned a standardized rights label describing its copyright status. Copyright determinations have been made by project staff using the best available information regarding provenance, publication status, creator(s)/author(s), and creation dates. Donor permissions and/or contractual restrictions are also taken into consideration as part of this process.


Materials may be used for purposes of research, teaching, and private study; other uses require the permission of current copyright owners. Many of the items in this collection remain under protection of copyright. Users are encouraged to first view the "Rights and use", "Copyright Status", "Rights URI", and "Copyright Notes" fields for each item being considered for use (see example below). Please direct questions regarding copyright and necessary permissions to the "Contributing Institution" identified on each item.


Regardless of the nature of use, credit should be given to the contributing institution (e.g., 'Image courtesy of the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, Washington.').




The nature of historical, archival, and manuscript collections often make it difficult to determine the exact copyright status of an item. If you have corrections or additional information about the creator(s), creations date(s), or rights holder(s) to works in this collection, please contact the contributing institution identified in the work's record.


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