New museum addition
The Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion will allow the Museum to display works currently in storage.
In October, construction will commence on a $15 million expansion of the Colby College Museum of Art. The new Lunder-Alfond Family Pavilion will house Peter and Paula Lunder’s generous 2007 gift of art, a collection described as “one of the greatest collections of American art that has been given to a college museum anywhere” by Sharon Corwin, Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby Museum of Art and Chief Curator.
The gift, totaling over 450 pieces and worth over $100 million, is primarily a collection of American art from the late 18th century to the 21st century, though it also contains a sizeable amount of Asian art and Chinese antiquities. It includes works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Winslow Homer and James McNeill Whistler, whose 200 prints, drawings, pastels and paintings comprise a large part of the gift. “In terms of its strengths as a teaching collection, it is very strong in offering a really in-depth view of Whistler for art students to study,” Corwin said, noting that some Whistler prints show the different stages of the creative process.
Currently, the museum contains a considerable amount of American art, including the permanent collections of John Marin and Alex Katz, but according to Corwin, “one of the great things about the gift is how beautifully it complements our permanent collection—expanding on our strengths and filling in some of the holes we had.” Some pieces from the Lunder collection are already displayed at the museum, most notably in an exhibition on Whistler that draws its entire works from the gift. The 26,000 square foot expansion of the museum will create space to display the entire Lunder collection, as well as make the College’s art museum the largest in Maine.
The addition, financed by a successful fundraising campaign as well as a major contribution from the Alfond Foundation, will create an extended teaching gallery for Colby students and faculty as well as classroom space for outreach programs in which children and teens come to the museum to partake in art projects and activities. On the third floor of the Pavilion, there will be classrooms, in addition to new photography and foundation studios.
To accommodate the construction, the museum will close on Oct. 3 and will partially reopen on Nov. 8 until the expansion is completed. “We are still going to be very active in our programming during the construction period,” Corwin said. Permanent collections and pieces from the Alex Katz collection will be displayed on rotation during this time. Additionally, throughout the construction period, students and faculty on the Hill will be able to access specific works if needed.
The unveiling of the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion is slated to be the final event in the celebration of the College’s bicentennial in to the summer of 2013.