July 7, 2013

10 key things to see at Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion

A guide to enjoying the inaugural show with a focus on 10 key moments.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE - Sharon Corwin didn't allow the pressure of installing one of America's most valued private art collections to get in the way of her having fun.

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“Indian Hunter and His Dog” by Paul Manship (circa 1926) is among the more than 500 pieces in the collection given to Colby by Peter and Paula Lunder.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Swedish sculptor Claes Oldenburg’s “Typewriter Eraser”

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

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IF YOU GO

"THE LUNDER COLLECTION: A GIFT OF ART TO COLBY COLLEGE"

WHERE: Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville

WHEN: Opens to the public on July 14. On view though June 8, 2014.

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: Free

INFO: 859-5600; colby.edu/academics_cs/museum

MORE: Read Bob Keyes' story on how the Alfond-Lunder Pavilion came to be. A1And that's not all: More new shows

AND THAT'S NOT ALL: MORE NEW SHOWS

WATERVILLE -- In addition to opening the Lunder Collection exhibition, the Colby College Museum of Art unveils several other new exhibitions that may be overshadowed by Lunder hoopla. Among them:

"A Thing Alive: Modern Landscapes from the Marin Collection," featuring works from Colby's Marin collection supplemented by photographs from the Norma B. Marin collection. The Marin work includes abstracted cityscapes and landscapes, along with photographs of rural and urban scenes by Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Alfred Stieglitz and others. It opens Saturday and is on view through Oct. 6.

"Alex Katz: A Matter of Light," on view through Sept. 15. This show features prints, drawings and paintings from the museum's permanent collection that demonstrate Katz' study of light and shadow.

"Here and There: Contemporary Art from the Alex Katz Foundation," through Dec. 31. The work in this show represents recent acquisitions of contemporary art through the Katz Foundation.

-- Bob Keyes

 

"A blast," she said. "It's been a total blast. It's been a real honor to work with this collection."

Corwin, director and chief curator of the Colby College Museum of Art, shows off the result of her work when the museum fully reopens to the public on July 14 with "The Lunder Collection: A Gift of Art to Colby College."

The centerpiece of the reopening is the 26,000-square-foot Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, a jewel of a building that gives Corwin and her staff the opportunity to show the range, depth and aesthetic magnificence of the Lunder Collection.

The promise of the gift of more than 500 pieces, assembled by a Maine couple, came in 2007. Since then, Corwin has been thinking about showing it off. During that time, she had rare access to the artwork, giving her the chance to live with it, ponder it and wrap her mind around its many nuances, characteristics and traits.

Beyond working with an architect to shape the new wing and a construction team to build it, Corwin's challenge was making sense of an art collection formed over four decades by two individuals, Peter and Paula Lunder.

The Waterville couple built their collection based on the advice of art-world friends and confidantes, but the collection ultimately reflects personal tastes and their evolution as collectors. Their collection represents the broad spectrum of American art, dating from the early days of the country to the present.

As their vision is refined, the couple continues to collect. They began driving around to antique shops across Maine, buying pieces that caught their eye. By the late 1970s, the Lunders became more serious, and concentrated on European paintings.

When prices for European art soared, the Lunders shifted gears and collected American art, focusing first on art from the American West, a personal interest of Peter Lunder, then concentrating on American masters, many with ties to Maine: Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth.

As their tastes and sense of art-buying adventure expanded, they gravitated toward sculpture and contemporary art. They took more risks and went further afield aesthetically.

For the opening, Colby shows slightly more than half the collection.

When visitors enter the museum's new lobby and pass through the big glass doors into the Alfond-Lunder Pavilion, they will immediately sense a modern museum experience. Large, glittering contemporary pieces in silver, neon and flashing lights anchor the interior walls.

The galleries are tall, spacious and bright, and filled with a curious mix of late 20th- and early 21st-century art that provokes humor, awe and wonder: John Chamberlain's wall-hanging sculpture "Rare Meat," a twisted mix of steel that looks something like a car crash; Maya Lin's "Pin River -- Kissimmee," which offers an outline of the Florida river with hundreds of steel pins affixed to the wall; and Donald Judd's untitled sculpture of copper and orange Plexiglass, which looks something like a modernist wall shelf.

Later, visitors weave back into the 19th and early 20th centuries with work by American masters John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, George Inness and James McNeill Whistler. Indeed, the Lunder Collection includes many remarkable works by Whistler, including his 1864 painting "Chelsea in Ice" and more than 200 etchings and lithographs.

For this inaugural exhibition, which will be on view for a year, Corwin grouped much of the work into themes: The working waterfront, world views, the natural world, masculine pursuits. In the future, she will integrate the Lunder Collection with the rest of Colby's holdings, using the Lunder pieces to complement the existing depth of the museum's collection.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

20130626_LunderPavilion
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Oldenburg’s bronze-and-steel “Model for Clothespin"

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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John George Brown, “Watching the Circus” (1881), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection

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Georgia O’Keeffe, “Birch and Pine” (1925), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection

click image to enlarge

Winslow Homer, “Girl in a Hammock” (1873), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection

click image to enlarge

James McNeill Whistler, “Chelsea in Ice” (1864), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection

 


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