Charles Loring Elliott, Portrait of Matthew Vassar, 1861

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Vassar announces the acquisition of a major cubist painting by Pablo Picasso to the collection of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

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POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (May 6, 2005) — Vassar College is delighted to announce the acquisition by its Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center of an important late Cubist painting by Pablo Picasso, Glass, Guitar and Musical Score (winter 1922-23), as a gift of Virginia Herrick Deknatel, class of 1929, in honor of Frances Daly Fergusson, Vassar's President. Fergusson recently announced that she will step down after 20 years as president, on June 30, 2006.

The painting is the fourth by Picasso to enter the Art Center's collection and is the first at Vassar to represent the artist's Cubist period. A studio-bound still life, Glass, Guitar and Musical Score is an expression of the pastel-toned, decorative style of Cubism that Picasso practiced after the First World War. Serene and harmonious, the painting reflects Picasso's immersion in this period in the high-society world of dance and theater, both through his marriage to ballet dancer Olga Koklova and through commissions for stage, costume and curtain designs for various companies, notably Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

"This gift has immense personal meaning for me," said Fergusson. "Ginny Deknatel and her husband Fred, with whom I studied art at Harvard, together collected with brilliant eyes for quality and importance. Since I became president of Vassar in 1986, Ginny has been a kind, witty, and good friend to me and to the College, sharing generously her intelligence and savvy. I am so honored to have this magnificent work — which I have admired frequently and avidly in her home — here at Vassar."

According to James Mundy, Director of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, "Glass, Guitar and Musical Score adds immeasurably to our collection, for the first time allowing our students and visitors to see a remarkable major work of Cubism here at Vassar. It is tremendously generous of Mrs. Deknatel to have made this gift in honor of President Fergusson."

The other Picasso paintings in the Vassar collection are Woman in a Red Armchair (1924), Shepherd and Goat (1946) and Tête de femme (1953-54). The Art Center's Picasso holdings in all media number more than thirty and represent every decade of his career, from an 1899-1900 drawing to an etching of 1968. Besides adding a major chapter to the Art Center's survey of Picasso's career, Glass, Guitar and Musical Score significantly expands Vassar's representation of the modern masters. The work takes its place at the Art Center among fine paintings by artists including Paul Cézanne, Edvard Munch, Edouard Vuillard, Robert Delaunay, Balthus, and Alberto Giacometti.

About the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, with collections of more than 15,000 works, charts the history of art from antiquity to the present. The 34,000 square foot Art Center, designed by Cesar Pelli and opened in 1993, exhibits approximately 350 works at any given time in its Permanent Collection Galleries and sculpture garden. Notable holdings include the Warburg Collection of Old Master prints, an important group of Hudson River School paintings, and a wide range of works by major European and American painters of the twentieth century. The Art Center is the successor to the Vassar College Art Gallery, which was begun in 1864, making Vassar the first college founded with a permanent art collection and gallery.

Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free. The Art Center is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Sunday. 1:00 –5:00 p.m. Located at the entrance to the historic Vassar College campus, the Art Center can be reached within minutes from other Mid-Hudson cultural attractions, such as Dia: Beacon, the Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt national historic sites and homes, and the Culinary Institute of America. The Art Center is wheelchair accessible. For more information, the public may call (845) 437-5632 or visit

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

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Posted by Office of Communications Friday, May 6, 2005


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