President David A. Greene told an anticipatory crowd that the gift from Peter ’56, D.F.A. ’98 and Life Trustee Paula Lunder, D.F.A. ’98 will make Colby’s Museum—already considered one of the finest college museums in the nation—a beacon of scholarship and curation that will draw visitors and art historians from around the world.
“The fire of the arts and humanities will burn bright at Colby,” said President Greene. “This is essential to who we are, to where we are going.” Greene announced the gift Feb. 2 at a celebration of the Lunders during the Board of Trustees meeting in Boston.
“The Lunders have done so much for Colby, from financial aid, to supporting our building development, to gifts of incredible art.”—President David A. Greene
The Lunders’ gift of more than $100 million will add nearly 1,150 artworks to the museum’s collection and will launch the Lunder Institute for American Art, establishing Colby as the only liberal arts college with a world-class art museum and a global research center on American art.
The institute will be dedicated to the practice, study, and exhibition of American art and will transform Colby’s art collection and scholarly activities by bringing together artists, curators, scholars, and students through cross-disciplinary engagement.
The gift of artworks and endowment of the institute will make it possible for the Lunder Collection at the Colby Museum to speak to a global audience, to make Waterville, Maine, a must-see arts destination, and to offer Colby students opportunities to interact with and analyze a remarkably broad and deep collection.
“The future is very bright for the college on Mayflower Hill,” said Paula Lunder.
“For many years, we have been inspired and impressed by Colby’s teaching mission and the many ways that the museum is deeply integrated into the curriculum to become a vibrant part of college life,” said Peter and Paula Lunder. “We are delighted that our art collection will be shared with future Colby students, the Waterville community, and visitors to Maine, and we know that Colby College will do a marvelous job enhancing the collection with their academic programs—we feel that Colby is the perfect home for our collection.”
That collection has been created through years of the Lunders selecting “the best of the best,” said Sharon Corwin, Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby College Museum of Art and chief curator. “We are so grateful for the attention and love and care they put into their collecting.”
To advance critical and creative research in American art and related fields, the institute will host a residential program for scholars and artists on campus and in downtown Waterville. Summer and academic-year residencies, ranging from several weeks to a year, will be offered to graduate students, scholars, curators, and emerging and internationally renowned artists who could develop new site-specific works on campus and in the community. These fellows will be a strong part of the intellectual and creative life of the College, working directly with faculty, students, and community members, and inspiring a dialogue between art creation and scholarship. The institute’s activities also will include an exhibition program, a robust publication program, and the organization of major multidisciplinary symposia.
Jacob Lawrence, Builders #1, 1968. (Detail) Gouache and tempera on paper, 29 x 21 1/2 in. (73.7 cm x 54.6 cm). Colby College Museum of Art. The Lunder Collection, 024.2008. Photo by Peter Siegel, Pillar Digital Imaging LLC
Featured image, Colby Magazine landing page:
Harry Callahan, Eleanor, 1947. (Detail) Gelatin silver print on sheet, 8 x 4 7/8 in. (20.3 x 12.4 cm). Colby College Museum of Art, The Lunder Collection, 2015.157. Photo by Pixel Acuity
Colby.edu homepage image:
Romare Bearden, City of Brass, 1965. (Detail) Photostat and gouache on board mounted on panel, 29 x 40 in. (73.7 x 101.6 cm). Colby College Museum of Art, The Lunder Collection, 2012.330. © Christie’s Images