WATERVILLE — The  major summer exhibit at the Colby College Museum of Art includes 48 of the 100 etchings by Pablo Picasso known collectively as “The Vollard Suit.” The collection was named for Ambroise Vollard, the important Paris art dealer who comissioned the works.

These etchings, made between 1930 -1937, are considered the artist’s most significant series of prints and a milestone in 20th century modernist printmaking. 

Vollard, who handled works by Cezanne, Matisse, Renoir and others, had great faith in Picasso and encouraged him to do etchings. Vollard was also an avid art collector and publisher, who would later write biographies of Cezanne, Degas, and Renoir. He died in 1939 in an auto accident, but is remembered as the most powerful art dealer in Paris who encouraged in the 1930s the early movement in modern art.

 The most exciting work for me in the Picasso etching exhibit is titled “Blind Minotaur Led by a Little Girl in the Night,” an aquatint, drypoint engraving, created in 1937. It reveals Picasso’s interest and study of classical sculpture. The work flows with passion.

Themes of mythology can be seen in many of the etchings. His works also frequently focus on the human body, which fascinated Picasso. These pieces display a classical approach to beauty, finding it in the human body.

        “The Vollard Suite” was acquired this spring as a gift from Peter and Paula Lunder, major art patrons who have helped establish Colby it as the largest art museum in the state.

       “We never dreamed we could have Picasso, but when the opportunity came up we were glad to get it for Colby, especially for the students and the next generation,”  Paula Lunder said.

The Colby Museum of Art comprises five wings and over 8,000 works. The span of the collection is enormous and includes works from different periods in art by such famous artists as: John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’keeffe and many others.

In addition, the museum is known for its collection of contemporary artists which includes works by Chuck Close, Alex katz, Sol LeWitt, Elizabeth Murray,  Richard Serra, David Smith and Lois Dodd to name only a few.

“The Picasso exhibit represents an amazing opportunity for the Colby students and college community, but also for many Maine neighbors who visit the museum. The public is always welcome, Sharon Corwin, director and chief curator of the Colby Museum said. There is no admission charge to enter the museum.

          The Picasso exhibit comes down Aug. 21. Museum hours include: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday 12 -5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Thursday evenings open until 9.p.m. during academic year. 

Artist known for 
painting aerial views
honored at Colby

By Pat Davidson Reef
Special to the Sun Journal

WATERVILLE — On the rainy morning I went to Waterville to review the Picasso etchings at the Colby College Museum of Art, I went early to hear nationally known artist Yvonne Jacquette speak before a special luncheon where she would receive Colby’s  Cummings Award for artistic excellence.

Jacquette, 81, is famous for her aerial views in paintings and prints of skyscrapers which she created when living in New York. She moved to Searsmont, Maine, in 1964 where she has spent many summers.

  Fascinated with heights, she hires a plane or helicopter to see the sites which she chooses to paint. Her aerial works aren’t limited to sky scrapers. “Town of Skowhegan,” a beautiful oil on canvas she painted in 1988, hangs in the Colby Museum.
  She is also well known printmaker who once selected prints for the Library of Congress.

    The Cummings Award is given yearly in the name of Willard W. Cummings, one of the founders of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, because of his support of the arts across the state and support of the Colby Museum. He was an artist, as well as a patron of the arts. While creating the Portrait of President Bixler of Colby College in 1959, Cummings was instrumental in gathering early support for the museum.

The Colby College Museum of Art is an institution for all ages; students, faculty, and the general public. Its collection is so wide now from folk art, to contemporary abstract art, including the new Picasso etchings, that it has emerged as The Art Center of Maine.

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