Colby College Museum Of Art

The Colby College Museum of Art is a collecting and teaching museum dedicated to the preservation, display, and interpretation of the visual arts. We embrace within our collections works of art from diverse cultures and historical periods, with a focus on American Art. We manage these resources for the benefit of the Colby College community, the region, and the nation, and aspire to display works that embody the highest standards of achievement. The Colby Museum serves as a central site for intellectual engagement and student activity. As a primary teaching resource for the college and the greater community, the museum sits at the cross-roads of interdisciplinary thinking and the modes of social encounters between students, faculty, and community members that comprise the liberal arts experience.  The more than 300 etchings and lithographs that make up the Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler represent some of the rarest and most beautiful impressions by this American master. They are contextualized alongside exquisite examples of the artist’s work in other media, including the luminous oil painting Chelsea in Ice, from 1864, in addition to 22 other oils, watercolors, and pastels by Whistler. The Lunders also have given Colby College a collection of more than 150 books, journals, photographs, and archival materials related to Whistler.

The Lunders and Colby College

Peter H. Lunder and Paula Crane Lunder, formerly of Waterville, Maine, have strong ties to Colby College and its museum. Mr. Lunder graduated from Colby in 1956, and both Mr. and Mrs. Lunder received honorary degrees from the College in 1998. Mr. Lunder is a life overseer. Mrs. Lunder joined the Board of Trustees in 1998 and served as its vice chair in 2003-04. In 2006, she was named a life trustee. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lunder have been committed to the College and the museum and have served on the museum’s Board of Governors since 1995. In that year, they pledged the lead gift to the museum’s Lunder Wing, designed by architect Frederick Fisher and inaugurated in 1999. That same year, they also endowed a curatorial position at the museum, the Lunder Curator of American Art. In 2007, they promised their collection of more than 500 works of art to the College, with a strong holding in the art of James McNeill Whistler. Much of the Whistler collection was acquired in the 2000s and it continues to grow today with the newest arrival.

Mr. Lunder was the vice chairman of the Smithsonian Institution’s national board and served on the board at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. There, the Lunder Foundation endowed the Lunder Conservation Center and the position of Lunder Education Curator. Mr. Lunder also serves on the boards of the Harold Alfond Foundation and the Terra Foundation. Mrs. Lunder is currently on the Maine College of Art board, and both serve on a visiting committee at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Banner image detail: Chelsea in Ice, 1864, oil on canvas, Colby College Museum of Art, The Lunder Collection, 2013.293.