8485 - Gift adds more than 1,100 artworks to the Colby College Museum of Art's collection - Waterville, ME

Ai Weiwei, Colored Vases, 2006-2008. Neolithic Vases (50003000BC), industrial paint, dimensions variable. Colby College Museum of Art, The Lunder Collection. © Christie’s Images Limited, 2016.

Colby College today announced that it has received another gift of more than $100 million from Peter and Paula Lunder in support of the Colby College Museum of Art. The gift will add nearly 1,150 artworks to the Museum’s collection and will launch the Lunder Institute for American Art, establishing Colby as the only liberal arts college with a world-class art museum and a global research center on American art. The gift of artworks and endowment of the Institute will make it possible for the Lunder Collection at the Colby Museum to speak to a global audience, to make Waterville, Maine a must-see arts destination, and to offer Colby students opportunities to interact with and analyze a remarkably broad and deep collection.

“The Lunders’ generosity has transformed Colby College and the arts landscape in Maine,” said Colby President David A. Greene. “Now, with this gift to significantly expand the collection and create the Lunder Institute, the Museum will become a global destination for artists, scholars, and visitors. Colby students and faculty already make use of the museum in innovative ways, and this development will expand their opportunities for research and scholarship in all disciplines. We are grateful for Peter and Paula Lunder for their tremendous commitment to Colby, the Colby Museum, and the people of Maine.”

The gift includes paintings, sculptures, photography, and works on paper, dating from a 1501 engraving by Albrecht Dürer to a 2014 aquatint by Julie Mehretu, by more than 150 artists, including Mary Cassatt, Jasper Johns, Nina Katchadourian, Jacob Lawrence, Maya Lin, Joan Mitchell, Claes Oldenburg, Betye Saar, Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson, and James McNeill Whistler. They join the hundreds of works previously promised and given in 2007 by Peter and Paula Lunder, longtime benefactors to the College and the Museum, and bring the total number of works given by Mr. and Mrs. Lunder to more than 1,500. The Institute will be dedicated to the practice, study, and exhibition of American art, and will transform Colby’s art collection and scholarly activities by bringing together artists, curators, scholars, and students through cross-disciplinary engagement.

“For many years, we have been inspired and impressed by Colby’s teaching mission and the many ways that the Museum is deeply integrated into the curriculum to become a vibrant part of College life,” said Peter and Paula Lunder. “We are delighted that our art collection will be shared with future Colby students, the Waterville community, and visitors to Maine, and we know that Colby College will do a marvelous job enhancing the collection with their academic programs—we feel that Colby is the perfect home for our collection.”

The Lunder Institute will be integrated into the academic mission of the College and the Museum’s program and is poised to become a preeminent research center for American art. The Institute will create a unique space for scholarship, creative works, dialogue, and mentorship among visiting scholars and artists, Colby faculty and students, and the central Maine community; facilitate institutional exchange in the United States and internationally; and train future leaders in the field of American art through the Colby Museum and partner institutions around the world.

“Colby is especially interested in bringing together innovative artists and scholars to reflect on the historical and cultural parameters of ‘American art’ as an evolving field of intellectual inquiry and creative practice,” said Sharon Corwin, the Carolyn Muzzy Director and Chief Curator of the Colby College Museum of Art. “This reflection comes at a moment when the field is calling for more expansive definitions of this term, urging the world to see beyond the borders of the United States and make transnational connections across materials and methodologies. The Lunders’ generosity will enable Colby to be at the forefront of this exciting moment in the field.”

To advance critical and creative research in American art and related fields, the Institute will host a residential program for scholars and artists on campus and in downtown Waterville. Summer and academic-year residencies, ranging from several weeks to a year, will be offered to graduate students, scholars, curators, and emerging and internationally renowned artists who could develop new site-specific works on campus and in the community. These fellows will be a strong part of the intellectual and creative life of the College, working directly with faculty, students, and community members, and inspiring a dialogue between art creation and scholarship. The Institute’s activities also will include an exhibition program, a robust publication program and the organization of major multi-disciplinary symposia.