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As Colby College honored Trustee Paul J. Schupf for 15 years of service on the Board of Trustees, the philanthropist and astute art collector made yet another gift to the college. At a luncheon in Schupf’s honor on May 27, President William D. Adams announced that Colby would receive Schupf’s collection of a sculpture and 150 works on paper by renowned artist Richard Serra—the largest Serra collection outside of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Recognized by many critics as the most prominent sculptor working today, Serra produces monumental sculptures that emphasize the relationship between the viewer and the work of art. At Colby, Serra’s 4,5,6—three steel blocks of equal size in the Paul J. Schupf Sculpture Court at the museum’s entrance—embodies Serra’s unique aesthetic of site-specific work by carving the space it inhabits. The large-scale prints and drawings in the new Richard Serra at Colby College collection will complement 4,5,6, highlighting the connection between the artist’s two- and three-dimensional works.
When Colby’s now-retired museum director Hugh Gourley showed Schupf Colby’s Serra drawing Brownie McGhee in 2001, Schupf nearly “buckled at the knees”—and vowed to collect Serra’s prints. In three years he acquired almost every one. This, according to Sharon Corwin, director of the Colby College Museum of Art, is emblematic of Schupf as a collector. “He approaches art with the intelligence of a scholar, the eye of a connoisseur, and the passion of a true art lover,” she said at the luncheon.
The Richard Serra at Colby College collection spans more than three decades of Serra’s works on paper. Serra began making prints in 1972 and continues to push the medium in new directions. His prints embody the abstraction, materiality, and power that distinguish Serra’s work across media. Two of his greatest prints, Reykjavik and Clara Clara I, both from Schupf’s collection, are currently on view in the museum.
Richard Serra at Colby College is one of many gifts Schupf has made to the Colby College Museum of Art. A member of the museum’s Board of Governors from 1994 to 2006, he has given works by, among others, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Ed Ruscha, Susan Hartnett, Christo, Philip Pearlstein, and three major paintings by Alex Katz including the masterpiece Pas de Deux. Many of these works are currently on view in the museum in an exhibition that showcases Schupf’s gifts to Colby.
Schupf, of Hamilton, N.Y., also provided the foresight and lead gift for The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz and The Paul J. Schupf Sculpture Court. Said Corwin, “The Colby Museum is what it is today thanks in large part to the generosity and vision of Paul Schupf.”
In addition, Schupf gave the lead gift for the Anthony-Mitchell-Schupf Residence Halls and for the Paul J. Schupf Scientific Computing Center in Colby’s Keyes Science Building.
The Colby College Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities. For more information call 207-859-5600 or visit the Web site at www.colby.edu/museum.