Colville studio installation

Distinguished alumnus Alex Colville ('42) focus of major gift to Mount Allison

Gemey Kelly of the Owens Art Gallery.

By Gemey Kelly, Director/Curator, Owens Art Gallery

Mount Allison University distinguished alumnus Alex Colville (’42) has become the focus of attention this year as the University received a major gift from the Colville family and a generous grant from the Government of Canada on the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

Canadian artist Alex Colville's art studio, now located in Colville House at Mount Allison University.This fall Alex Colville’s daughter, Ann Kitz, announced the family’s intention to donate the artist’s studio as he left it at the time of his death. The gift includes brushes, paint, inks, and other art materials, as well as his easels, tables, and chair.

The artist’s studio and books has been installed in Colville House on the campus of Mount Allison University where Alex, his wife Rhoda (’42), and their children Graham, John, Charles, and Ann lived from 1949 to 1973. A major grant from the Government of Canada of $98,700 has made the installation and related renovations possible.

Colville House, with the artist’s studio, opened to the public on Canada Day and remains open through July and August.

During the announcement of the gift, Kitz spoke of her father’s studio as a palimpsest of his lifetime of work.

“Some things, like the Bass River chair, had been there since the beginning. Many pieces of furniture had been made by him over the years to serve specific purposes — especially the standing easel with its many daubs of paint accumulated during the creation of so many paintings and drawings. Any of these objects on their own is relatively meaningless, but all together the studio is a fascinating glimpse into his working process.”

The installation of the studio at Colville House and the opening of a new permanent Colville exhibit at the Owens defines Mount Allison University as a major site in Canada for exploring the ideas and contributions of Alex Colville. These resources will also provide important support for community engagement and the teaching and learning mission of the University.

Gemey Kelly
Owens Art Gallery