Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s

July 11, 2015 - October 18, 2015

The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz

The 1950s saw American artist Alex Katz (b. 1927) take up and master painting directly from nature, lay claim to Abstract Expressionism’s size and scale on behalf of figurative painting, and innovate with collages and cutouts. It was a decade in which he looked to the portraiture of Édouard Manet for lessons in the relationship between figure and ground, and the one in which he met Ada, his most enduring model. Given the overwhelming popularity of painterly abstraction, this was also a period when he destroyed hundreds of canvases, and those that survived had little to no audience. This major exhibition will introduce audiences to an overlooked body of work and consider it within the context of the aesthetic commitments of the decade. Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s features sixty-five paintings, cutouts, and collages, including many on loan from the artist and major public and private collections.

Details about the exhibition tour coming soon.

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Brand-New & Terrific

Alex Katz in the 1950s

Diana Tuite


Celebrating an experimental decade in the career of Alex Katz, this book introduces audiences to a relatively unknown body of his work.



Press release: Brand-New and Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s

Related exhibition review: Roberta Smith, Review: Alex Katz at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, The New York Times, May 2015

Related exhibition review: Paul Laster, Artist Alex Katz Takes Over Barneys, Observer, May 2015

Related exhibition review: Rosemary Feitelberg, Alex Katz Teams Up with Barneys New York and Art Production Fund,, May 2015

Exhibition review: Sarah E. Fensom, Object Matter and Environment, Art & Antiques, June 2015

Exhibition review: Peter Terzian, What’s Next: Life Studies, Elle Decor, June

Exhibition review: Alex Katz at Gavin Brown, through Jun. 13, Art in America, June 2015

Exhibition review: Lilly Wei, In the Studio: Painting in the Present Tense, Art + Auction, June 2015

Related exhibition listing: Goings On About Town: Art, The New Yorker, June 2015

Artist feature: Audrey Fair, Alex Katz Reveals How to Become an Artist, Artnet, June 2015

Exhibition review: Kelsey Miranda, Colby College Museum of Art Shows the Early Years of Alex Katz, Whitewall Magazine, June 2015

Artist feature: Melissa Feldman, Cool Katz, Cultured Magazine, Summer 2015

Artist interview: Alex Katz on Faces, Flowers, and Saying No to AbEx “He-Man” PaintingArtsy, July 1, 2015

Banner Image: Alez Katz, Jack’s Fancy Fruit and Veg., 1951-1952, Oil on masonite, 36 in. x 16 in., Gift of the artist, Art © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, 1995.091

Aesthetic Harmonies: Whistler in Context

September 17, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Lower Jetté Galleries

Aesthetic Harmonies explores the many artistic, social, and historical contexts in which we can situate the artist James McNeill Whistler. Drawing from the museum’s rich collections of European, American, and Asian art, the exhibition reexamines Whistler’s relationship to the Etching Revival in Britain, French Realism, American Impressionism, and transatlantic Aestheticism. It also places the artist’s experiments with color, form, beauty, and nature in dialogue with early American modernism, mid-twentieth-century abstraction, and contemporary art. Aesthetic Harmonies thus constructs a history of modern art through Whistler’s diverse practices, philosophies, and influences. This exhibition is curated by Associate Professor of Art Tanya Sheehan and the students in AR497 (Fall 2014); Maria Bowe ’15, Catherine Maguire ’15, Caroline Pelham ’17, Francesca Soriano ’16, Veronica Vesnaver ’15, and Marina Wells ’15.

Banner Image: Edward Steichen, Moonlight on the Narrows, 1905, Oil on canvas, The Lunder Collection, 2013.268

Whistler and the World: The Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler at the Colby College Museum of Art

September 24, 2015 - January 10, 2016

Lunder Wing, Southeast Gallery

In his Ten O’Clock Lecture in 1885, James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903) presented himself as an artist set apart from the public, bearing no relation to the historical moment he lived in. However, the myth of artistic independence that Whistler developed was but one part of a complex and highly significant relationship he had with the world around him. As a painter, printmaker, and designer, Whistler engaged with a variety of places, people, and ideas that stretched from the United States to London, Venice, and Japan. Drawn entirely from the renowned Lunder Collection, this comprehensive exhibition—featuring the finest examples of his prints among works in other media—explores Whistler’s travels across Europe in his quest to re-imagine his surroundings and to transport the modern world into the “realm of art.”

Related Publications

Artist feature: Ann Landi, Whistler: The Original Art StarArtnews, December 2014

Art movement: Sebastian Smee, ‘Whistler’s Mother’ to visit Clark Art Institute in July, The Boston Globe, March 2015

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Related exhibition: “Whistler in Paris, London, and Venice.” Yale University Art Gallery. 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06520. Friday, January 30, 2015–Sunday, July 19, 2015.

Related exhibition: Iconic Painting ‘Whistler’s Mother’ Arrives July 4 at the Clark Art Institute, The Clark Art Institute, May 2015

Banner Image: James McNeill Whistler, Chelsea in Ice, 1864, Oil on canvas, 17 3/4 x 24 in., The Lunder Collection, 2013.293

Robert Adams: Turning Back

February 2, 2016 - June 5, 2016

Lower Jetté Galleries, Upper Jetté Galleries

Begun in response to the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Turning Back, an exhibition of 164 photographs by acclaimed photographer Robert Adams, will be on display at the Colby Museum of Art beginning February 2nd. According to Adams, “The theme of this [work] is the glory of the natural world and the tragic nature of human beings. The West is gone. What did we do with it? What have we traded for this great forest? What did we get in exchange?” For what he subtitled A Photographic Journal of Re-Exploration, the photographer headed East from the Pacific Ocean, photographing the evidence of irresponsible stewardship and unmitigated greed that he found in the forests along the way. He continued until he came upon a reason for hope in the orchards, pastures, and cottonwoods of Halfway, Oregon, about four hundred and fifty miles east of the Pacific.

Banner Image: Robert Adams, Sitka spruce, Cape Blanco State Park, Curry County, Oregon, 1999-2003. © Robert Adams, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco