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The Colby College Museum of Art will receive, from the Alex Katz Foundation, a collection of six paintings by the American modernist painter Marsden Hartley, Museum Director and Chief Curator Sharon Corwin announced Jan. 21.
“This tremendous gift is a testament to Alex Katz’s vision for the Colby Museum and the visual arts in Maine,” said Corwin. Both Katz and Hartley have connections to Maine: Hartley was born in Lewiston and Katz has spent summers in Lincolnville since 1949.
The six Hartley paintings from the Katz Foundation are currently on view in the museum’s Lunder Wing alongside three Hartley paintings already in the museum’s permanent collection, affording an opportunity to examine a retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work. “Through the Katz Foundation’s astounding generosity, we can now present the full range of Hartley’s work, which is so important to the foundation of American modernism.”
The paintings include two still lifes and three Maine landscapes, including a dynamic view of City Point, Vinalhaven, and a hauntingly beautiful painting of the Bavarian mountains. “Each one of these paintings is a gem,” Corwin said, “and the collection as a whole is extraordinary.”
Alex Katz, a prominent figure in contemporary art known for his large-scale figurative paintings, founded the Alex Katz Foundation in 2004 to support artists and museums through the purchase and donation of works of art. Since 2004, the Alex Katz Foundation has given the Colby Museum more than 100 works of art worth more than $4 million. Other recipients of gifts from the Katz Foundation include the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In addition to the Hartley paintings, the Katz Foundation has given the Colby Museum works by Jennifer Bartlett, Joe Brainard, Rudy Burckhardt, Chuck Close, Adolph Gottlieb, Gary Hume, Elizabeth Murray, Dana Schutz, and Philip Taaffe among others. Alex Katz’s deep and personal commitment to contemporary art and artists is evident in the range of work that he has given, from emerging to internationally recognized artists, figurative and abstract art, and a range of media.
Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art has built a significant permanent collection of more than 6,000 works, with a focus on American and contemporary art. Selections from this collection are displayed in the museum’s 28,000 square feet of exhibition space-one of the largest museums in Maine.
The collection includes areas of extraordinary depth. Major works by American artists John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt, James McNeill Whistler, and William Merritt Chase form part of the historical collection; the modern movement is represented by important works by John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent. The museum also features a significant contemporary collection, including works by Chuck Close, Richard Serra, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Kara Walker, Elizabeth Murray, Alex Katz, and Terry Winters. Other areas of the collection include Greek and Roman antiquities, European prints and drawings, American folk art, and early Chinese art.
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 additional information about the Colby College Museum of Art, visit www.colby.edu/museum.