Paper Cuts


By Ruth Jacobs

Alex Katz (American, b. 1927), Picnic at the Beach, 1960, collage, 4 5/8" x 5 1/4" Gift of the Artist, The Paul J. Schupf Wing Colby College Museum of Art
As a young artist in the late 1950s, Alex Katz was developing his unique style. A collection of his collages, on view at the Colby College Museum of Art this summer, offers a glimpse into that process. Alex Katz: Collages (June 26-September 18) brings together about 60 collages made from cut pieces of colored paper. These "very flat, simple, rather elegant" pieces, as described by Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Museum of Art Daniel Rosenfeld, "had a kind of simplicity that was emerging in his painting at the same time."

 While viewers will see some consistency in the characteristics of Katz's collages and paintings, one major difference is immediately apparent"size. Colby's smallest collage is 3 7/8 by 5 5/8 inches, while the largest painting in the Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz at the Colby museum, Pas De Deux (1994), has five panels that are 11 feet tall and total 30 feet wide. As Katz grew, so did his art.

For this exhibition"the first of its kind"Colby will display its own collection of eight collages and borrow works from such museums as the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York as well as from private collections.