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WATERVILLE, Maine—A 12.3-foot-tall steel wind vane with a spectacular female portrait is being installed on the campus of Colby College. The “Ada Vane” is the latest in a series of important acquisitions for the College’s world-renowned museum of art.
The 2016 sculpture by Alex Katz—informally called the “Ada Vane” because it depicts the artist’s wife, Ada, his muse of many decades—joins a series of outdoor works of art encircling the museum. It complements Sol LeWitt’s concrete Seven Walls (2002) situated on the grassy slope nearby.
Ada (wind vane) is a generous gift from the artist and St. Louis-based fine art publisher Robert Lococo. In 1992 Katz donated more than 400 pieces to the museum’s collection, and its holdings have since grown to include more than 850 works by the American artist, including oil paintings, cutouts, and works on paper. The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz is the only wing in a United States museum devoted solely to a living artist.
“This extraordinary gift could not be more appropriate for our comprehensive collection,” said Katz Curator Diana Tuite. “The wind vane has its roots in the cutouts—flat figures that Katz started making very early in his career—but it also represents a completely new direction for him.”
The vane, made of porcelain-coated steel with a powder-coated base, is installed on the southeastern lawn of the museum along Mayflower Hill Drive. It is one in a series of six wind vanes, another of which will be installed in London’s Hyde Park this summer in conjunction with Katz’s exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries.
“As both a teaching museum and a free resource for the people of Maine, the Colby museum is committed to inspiring dialogue and to making art accessible,” said the museum’s Carolyn Muzzy Director and Chief Curator Sharon Corwin. “We are thrilled to be able to offer an Alex Katz for all to see as they drive by or, we hope, stop in to view our dynamic exhibitions.”
The museum’s commitment to Katz’s work is central to its mission. Most recently, in 2015, the Colby College Museum of Art presented the acclaimed exhibition “Brand New and Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s,” a survey of the artist’s early work. This exhibition will travel to the Cleveland Museum of Art in April 2017.
The “Ada Vane” is only the most recent in a series of important gifts to Colby’s museum. This spring the museum welcomed a transformational gift of 100 Pablo Picasso etchings known as the Vollard Suite. About half of those extraordinary works are on view this summer.
Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art comprises five wings, more than 8,000 works of art, and more than 38,000 square feet of exhibition space. Major works by American masters including John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Albert Bierstadt, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, and William Merritt Chase form the core of the historical collection, along with significant holdings of American folk art. The modern movement is represented by important works by artists including John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent.
The museum also maintains a significant collection of contemporary American art, including works by Chuck Close, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Kara Walker, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Serra, and Terry Winters. Other principal areas of the collection include Greek and Roman antiquities, European prints and drawings, and early Chinese art. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Admission is free. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For additional information, please visit colby.edu/museum.
Founded in 1813, Colby is one of America’s most selective colleges. Serving only undergraduates, Colby’s rigorous academic program is rooted in deep exploration of ideas and close interaction with world-class faculty scholars. Students pursue intellectual passions, choosing among 58 majors or developing their own. Independent and collaborative research, study abroad, and internships offer robust opportunities to prepare students for postgraduate success. More than 100 courses at Colby, from across the disciplines, integrate the museum’s resources to enhance the academic experience. Colby is home to a community of 1,850 dedicated and diverse students from around the globe. Its Maine location provides easy access to world-class research institutions and civic engagement experiences.