Opening the Vaults, Acadia University Art Gallery: Alex Colville, Fête Champêtre

Opening the Vaults, Acadia University Art Gallery: Alex Colville, Fête Champêtre
By Alexandra Pulchny, Collections and Outreach Assistant, Acadia University Art Gallery

The Acadia University Art Gallery is proud to present one of many works by Alex Colville: Fête Champêtre. This work is on display in our current exhibition, “From the Vault, Alex Colville: Living Things,” on display until September 30. Many locals and Grapevine readers know the name Alex Colville, and are just as enthusiastic and excited to see his work on display as we are to exhibit it. In 1993, Alex Colville spoke to this particular work: “There is a great painting of this title, which I always thought was a Giorgione, but I recently discovered is a Titian. I use the title as homage to the painting. The woman is giving forth; the man is recumbent, taking in.”

Fête Champêtre loosely translates to ‘outdoor entertainment or a rural music festival’. The scene in this work takes place on the shore of a body of water; the woman is sitting against a tree playing her banjo, and the man is lying on his back beside her, taking in the sounds of nature and folk music. Colville had a keen eye for making his work come to life, and aimed to represent specific moments in time that were significant for him or for the area in which he lived. Usually the human figures in his work were his wife and himself and he rarely showed their faces, which helps the viewer identify with the scene he depicts.

Upon researching Titian’s “Fête Champêtre,” I found that both Titian and Colville believed music is not only something to be shared, enjoyed, and cherished, but it creates very intimate moment between the musician and audience. In both works, there is also the wonder of escaping to the countryside or a peaceful lake and enjoying the sights and sounds of the alternate environment.

To learn more about Alex Colville, visit the gallery Tuesday through Sunday 12pm-4pm, and make sure you check out our blog:

Acadia University Art Gallery
Beveridge Arts Centre, Acadia University