Mount Allison University announces Alex Colville Gift

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Exhibition of 35 original prints by the late artist to be unveiled at the Owens Art Gallery on Nov. 2

Mount Allison is holding an exhibition of donated artwork by the late Alex Colville.

Mount Allison is hosting an exhibition of 35 original prints by Alex Colville at the Owens Art Gallery starting Nov. 2. Among those is Black Cat 1996. The prints were donated by the renowned Canadian artist in memory of his wife Rhoda.

SACKVILLE, NB — Mount Allison University and the Owens Art Gallery are pleased to announce the unveiling of a major donation of artwork by renowned Canadian artist and Mount Allison graduate, the late Alex Colville.

The artist made the gift this spring in memory of his wife, Rhoda (Wright) Colville.  

The gift is the complete set of 35 silkscreen prints produced by the artist during his lifetime, making the Owens Art Gallery the only institution to have a complete set of Colville prints in its collection.

The prints will be unveiled as part of the exhibition The Alex Colville Gift to Mount Allison University, with an opening reception set for Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

Friends and family members of the Colville family will be in attendance and everyone is welcome to attend.

“The Alex Colville Gift to Mount Allison University is an extraordinary contribution to our fine arts collection which will provide a significant resource for our Fine Arts student programs,” said Dr. Robert Campbell, university president and vice-chancellor. “This gift gives Mount Allison one of the only complete Colville print collections in the country and greatly enhances the accessibility of his work for students, faculty, and community members. On behalf of Mount Allison University, I wish to thank the Colville family for this generous donation.”

The first print, titled After Swimming, was made in 1955 and the last print, titled Willow, was made in 2002. As a group, the Colville serigraphs form a remarkable record of the artist’s career over the years, showing the subject matter that would preoccupy him during the course of his entire artistic career. The gift is an extraordinary resource for teaching, research, and for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

“The artist’s practice was to keep back one print from each edition for his own collection,” Gemey Kelly, director and curator of the Owens Art Gallery, said. “These are the prints that form the gift to the Owens, adding a unique and personal dimension to the donation.”

Colville graduated from Mount Allison University in 1942 and would go on to become one of Canada’s most iconic artists.

Following graduation, Colville served as one of Canada’s war artists, returning to Mount Allison to teach in the Fine Arts department in 1946. He and his family stayed in Sackville until 1973 when they moved to Rhoda Colville’s family home in Wolfville.

Colville House, where they resided, is now on the Mount Allison campus and welcomes visitors every summer to learn more about the artist and his career.

In addition to the collection at the Owens, Mount Allison is also home to several Colville murals located in community areas on campus such as the Athletic Centre and Student Centre.

Colville died in July at age 92.

The Alex Colville Gift to Mount Allison will be on display at the Owens from Nov. 2 until Dec. 8.

The Owens Art Gallery, Canada’s oldest University art gallery, is located at 61 York Street on the Mount Allison University campus (www.mta.ca/owens)

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Owens Art Gallery, Fine Arts department Colville House Athletic Centre

Geographic location: Mount Allison, Canada, Wolfville 61 York Street

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