"You may spend your money on a museum," said Walter Cook apropos of the most ambitious enterprise of a well-known Fine Arts Department, "but we are going to move right next to a museum and let them buy our works of art, while we spend it on the professors and get the best there are."
That, in fact, is what he did when he brought his department to an uptown house close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was an old brownstone at 83rd Street and Madison Avenue in which the ground floor served as the newly-designated Fine Arts Graduate Center of New York from 1934 to 1937. The old living room was the operations center with students laboring over lantern slide collections and professors concentrating on the rituals of lecture preparation. All lectures were given at the Metropolitan, at the Frick Art Reference Library, and at the Morgan Library. But the memorable symbol of those lean days were the syllabi crisscrossed neatly in the bathtub.
Despite these stringencies, thirty-five distinguished scholars were drawn to the Graduate Center during those years. This roster was as international as it was brilliant. From Paris there were Henri Focillon, Marcel Aubert, and Eustache de Lorey. Key chairs and museum posts in Germany were represented by Erwin Panofsky (Hamburg); Adolph Goldschmidt, Ernst Herzfeld, and Richard Ettinghausen (Berlin); Karl Lehmann (Munster); Otto Homburger (Marburg); and Martin Weinberger (Munich). In addition, leading scholars in American universities, in an unusual display of academic brotherhood, brought their special gifts eagerly to the Center.
The program might well be compared with a new kind of planetary system. It had a small but centrifugally-controlling force at the center, its planets not yet in settled orbits or even determinable in number. Its most unusual feature lay in its capacity to attract splendid comets from afar and synchronize their periodicity with its own rhythms.
So far as regular appointments to the Department are concerned, there were only four. The chairman was Walter Cook, whose prodigious energy enabled him to manage all administrative affairs while dealing personally with with every student, writing prolifically on the art of Spain, and teaching. At his right hand was "Miss Wolf" -- Gertrude Wolf was never addressed otherwise -- secretary, house-mother, and central intelligence agency. The scholarship fund named for her by devoted former students makes "Miss Wolf" the only departmental secretary thus honored. There was Richard Offner, intent upon one great purpose: to develop the utmost refinement in perception of works of art. In his Corpus of Florentine Painting he was the very model of trecento connoisseurship. A. Philip McMahon introduced students to the literature of criticism and aesthetics, as well as to the graphic arts. For the art of the Far East there was Rudolf Riefstahl. Of the two young instructors, Dimitri Tselos lectured on architectural history and Robert Goldwater on primitive art. And of the influx of German refugee scholars, two were chosen as Visiting Professors -- astute choices that were to prove fruitful indeed. Karl Lehmann, who had been Professor of Classical Archeology at Muster, created, single-handed, a division of classical art, while Walter Friedlaender from Freiburg put the department on the map in the field of baroque painting.
"Hitler shakes the trees, and I pick up the apples." Walter Cook explained with a grin not unlike that of Alice's cat. Certainly, he was a marvel at it -- able to spot, pick, and sort with astonishing skill. But he was a cheerful distributor too. Knowing that he could never hope to keep all he liked, he ran an unofficial but highly effective placement bureau. Every scholar soon learned that he could count on transient accommodations, at least, in the Graduate Center. One of the more resplendent golden apples was Erwin Panofsky, brought to the department by Richard Offner in 1931. When the new Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton offered Panofsky a permanent professorship in 1935, he could scarely refuse. But, characteristically, he accepted only on condition that he might continue to teach at New York University.
What courses were offered? These consisted, by and large, of new theories and ideas being developed by the professors. Hence, the famous bathtub syllabi, which gave the essence of the lectures in mimeographed form. Many were to appear eventually as books, while some syllabi are the only existing "publications" about their particular subjects. Most of Lehmann's radical ideas on Roman art are embodied in his syllabi. The same is true of Friedlaender's work on the Italian Baroque, only part of which has been published. Even though much of Panofsky's work on Gothic illuminated manuscripts is available in the Norton Lectures on Early Netherlandish Painting, owners of mimeographed syllabi treasure them still.
Adolph Goldschmidt's mimeographed "German Secular Illuminated Manuscripts" is still the best work on the subject. The syllabi, which climbed to the lip of the bathtub, are, almost without exception, out of print, but urgent appeals for copies still arrive in the mail. Forty different courses were offered in 1934-35 alone. And in 1936-37, three courses on medieval illuminated manuscripts were given by the Graduate Center at the Pierpont Morgan Library. There may well have been nothing like it before -- or since.
Nevertheless, the Fine Arts Graduate Center was hardly a creature of spontaneous generation. When it moved to 83rd Street, it was already twelve years old, of interesting parentage, and had a proud genealogy which went back over a century to a famous ancestor.
Samuel Morse and the Gothic Tower
Samuel F.B. Morse, "the American Leonardo," was appointed to the Chair of Sculpture and Painting when New York University was founded in 1832. He was the only American professor of fine arts in his day to achieve world renown and to be remembered every since. To be sure, his fame came from his invention of the telegraph, but he was essentially a painter. And as an artist, he was in the vanguard of those painters who were engaged in discovering their own strength and freeing themselves from colonial status.
Seven years before he came to the University, Morse helped found the National Academy of Design and became its first president. The National Academy was in revolt against the stuffy American Academy of Fine Arts, which, presided over by Colonel John Trumbull and controlled by wealthy collectors, was not willing to provide instruction to art students nor allow students access to its collection. The rebel organization soon became a major force in American painting, and Colonel Trumbull eventually tried -- without success -- to merge the old with Morse's new Academy. In 1826, the year the National Academy was established, Morse was also lecturing on painting at the New York Athenaeum, a society which provided monthly lectures for the public in science, art, and literature. This effort not only paved the way for the creation of New York University but also anticipated The Cooper Union by over thirty years.
It was Morse the artist, missionary of the arts to the citizens of New York, and rebel leader among painters, who came to teach at New York University. The chair carried no salary -- only fees from students who chose to study with him. In fact, he must have paid more to the University than he received in fees, for he lived and taught in quarters rented from the University in their new building.
The University building, in fashionable "Gothic" style, rose on the east side of Washington Square in 1836. An uncharitable young wit, who later satirized the building as "Chrysalis College," said that the trustees fancied that "if they build Gothic, it would be scholastic; if they had narrow windows, not too much disorganizing modern thought would penetrate." Morse occupied rooms in the new building even before it had been entirely completed. It was in this "ivory tower" -- white marble, as a matter of fact -- that Morse perfected his very practical invention. Moreover, despite the narrow windows, he managed to get around. In Paris he met Daguerre and learned firsthand of his remarkable new photographic invention. Morse was using the new process to make photographs on the roof of his tower at the Washington Square Building within a month after it was presented publicly in Paris. His photos were among the very first to be taken in this country. Morse not only perceived the usefulness of photography as an aid to the artist but also recognized the promise of photography as a new and independent art form. It is therefore not surprising that one of his pupils in photography, Matthew Brady, ranks among the great artists in the new medium.
That Morse, as professor, did little teaching of painting or sculpture was not remarkable since there were very few students at the University. Then, too, it was Morse's own enterprise which provided more suitable training elsewhere, since students could study art at the National Academy.
The fact that Morse, an esteemed figure, had his quarters and studio in the University building must have made a distinct impression on fellow artists. His choice of residence probably set the precedent which made the University host to so many major nineteenth century artists. Evidently, artists constituted the majority of the building's tenants and included such names as Edwin A. Abbey, Thomas Dewing, Frederick Dielman, Winslow Homer, George Inness, Eastman Johnson, and J.H. Twachtman. Morse's reputation may have drawn inventors as well; at least we know that Samuel Colt of revolver fame also lived there. Morse and the "Gothick" building must be reckoned among the original forces which made for the tradition of Greenwich Village as a haven for artists.
Perhaps the time was not ripe for art courses in universities; possibly the University was not the best place for training painters and sculptors. (This is still a moot question.) But there can be no doubt that the existence of the University in the midst of lively artistic activity affords a highly desirable situation. Instead of the hothouse transplant of the modern artist-in-residence, the University had, out of natural circumstance, a steady stream of outstanding artist-tenants.
Art as an historical discipline cannot be questioned as part of the liberal arts curriculum, but in Morse's day it had not yet arrived. But even Morse never dreamed that in photography lay the key to the technique which would one day transform the empty art studios of the University into crowded lecture halls -- the use of lantern slides.
Satirically intended, the name "Chrysalis College" proved unintentionally prophetic. In the early days, the cells of a magnificent emergence were actually present.
Restoration and Interregnum
The Fine Arts Graduate Center of 1934 might be considered the great grandchild of its famous ancestor. There was little activity in the fine arts at the University once Morse became preoccupied with the acclaim of his telegraph. After his death in 1872, there is only the announcement of graduate lectures by Wallace Wood from 1887 to 1889. When the revival did come, in the wake of the University's renaissance following World War I, it more than compensated for the quiescent years.
It began with the appointment of a young scholar-architect, Fiske Kimball, as Morse Professor of the Literature of the Arts of Design in 1922. Within two years, Kimball built the foundations upon which the department still stands. If the Morse Professor shifted the balance from easel to slides, from paint to words, and from studio to lecture room, he was nevertheless spiritual kin to old Samuel. As an architect, Kimball was oriented to the practicing arts. Like Morse, he must have been restless in a Chair, for once the academic edifice was coming along, he turned his attention to the post of University Architect (1924) and, in the next year, to the directorship of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Much of what has come to be regarded as typical of the Department was brought into being during Kimball's brief tenure. He negotiated with the Metropolitan Museum and with other museums for the use of their classrooms. He brought into the teaching program scholarly talents generally overlooked by universities. Bashford Dean, Curator of Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum, was a case in point. From more distant places he recruited other lecturers: De Wit Parker of the University of Michigan; Adolph Goldschmidt and P.T. Sarre from Berlin. His choices for the permanent staff were felicitous. He invited Richard Offner and A. Philip McMahon, who became mainstays of the department, Rudolph Riefstahl, whose contribution was aborted by premature death, and John Shapley, his successor to the Chair. Even the characteristic form of course announcements -- in a "concert series' of fifteen themes bound in the familiar white booklet -- dates from this time.
Under John Shapley's direction as Morse Professor (1926-29), there was further development. Expressive of this advance was the fact that the Research Associates appointed to the Graduate School were all in the fine arts. Among these were Thomas Whittemore (later Director of the Byzantine Institute), and Walter W. S. Cook, who was to lead the Department nearly to its present eminence. Courses by guest lecturers had increased enormously, and there was virtually mass commuting to New York from Boston and Princeton.
General Sherrill, Chairman of the University Council Committee on the Fine Arts, is best remembered as the moving spirit of this revival. He marshaled powerful support for the Department, especially that of Colonel Michael Friedsam, famous collector and president of
B. Altman and Company. What is not generally known is that General Sherrill, an authority on stained glass windows, actually lectured on the subject in some of the courses. Mannerist painting, a field in which this Department was to become an unofficial American center, was introduced by Arthur K. McComb at this time. And a course consisting of lectures by experts brought such eminent practitioners of the arts as Ely Kahn, architect; Lee Simonson, stage designer; and, with nice appropriateness, Edward J. Steichen, photographer. In 1927, Guy Eglington gave a course on "The Museum of Tomorrow," designed for those interested in the museum field. The effort was abortive, but it was the first in this city and the only one for decades.
Minerva, trumpeting angels, and a triumphal allegory of America decorated the cover of a bulletin which announced that the Department had become the College of Fine Arts in 1928. It was now a degree-conferring school offering the B.A. and M.F.A. in its own right. The program described in that bulletin was perhaps the most comprehensive ever conceived. It included architecture, sculpture, painting, the graphic arts, interior decoration, printing, jewelry, and the history of art. The faculty roster mentioned 67 by name and promised "not less than 18 more" to be drawn from the rest of the University. Only the dauntless would dare count the total number of courses. The network of teaching centers for the program spread from its Washington Square offices to practically every museum in the city. It was almost inevitable that headquarters would be shifted to a skyscraper, although the College occupied only the 13th through the 16th floors of the new Crystal Building at 250 East 43rd Street.
For two years, before E. Raymond Bossange became Dean, the College of Fine Arts was directed by General Sherrill as Honorary Dean and by James B. Munn as Acting Dean. Flaws in the program proved fatal in the end. An analysis of the problem would involve an excursus into the theoretical and historical position of the fine arts among the liberal arts in higher education. However, a clue to the failure of the program is provided by the mixed bag of courses offered, which included Early Latin Illuminated Manuscripts, Modeling, Estimating for Printers, and Upholstery.
The historical division hovered between life and death at the very time that the University was celebrating the centennial years, 1931-32. Shapley had left for Chicago in 1929, and the Morse Professorship was discontinued. The core faculty consisted only of Richard Offner, since Philip McMahon was Chairman of the undergraduate department and participated in the Graduate School merely on a part-time basis. But General Sherrill's deeply-rooted convictions about the scholarly role of the Department ultimately triumphed. He boasted of having professors "who spend half a year in research abroad in their respective fields" and urged an increase in the number of "research professors." He developed direct connections with European universities. He instituted a plan for teaching centers in Europe by reminding the Chancellor and the Council that Peter the Great had founded Petrograd "in order to have a window looking out upon Europe," and so it must be for New York University. Special courses were provided for the College at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, and Berlin University invited the College to "take over" all their summer courses in the fine arts.
Small as it was, the Department of the History of Art was determined to divorce itself from the College of Fine Arts and develop independently in the higher reaches of world scholarship. Richard Offner was technically alone at this time, but he had the support of Philip McMahon, as well as that of Erwin Panofsky who had been invited in 1931 as Visiting Professor. This small group pursued their objectives with stubborn determination.
Walter Cook returned in 1933 to take charge of the Committee of Professors who directed the graduate program. The first step was to separate the Graduate Division from the College of Fine Arts, despite resistance in some quarters. He made it clear that there were now three distinct divisions of the fine arts at the University: (1) the Graduate Division of Fine Arts in the Graduate School, (2) the undergraduate department at Washington Square College, and (3) the College of Fine Arts. He argued that the College of Fine Arts with it architecture, sculpture, painting, music and dramatics had little connection with the history of art. He reported that with 48 students his was the largest graduate department of its kind in the country, with more students than Harvard and Princeton combined. And his position finally prevailed.
Walter Cook supervised the removal of the physical plant of the Department away from the undergraduate department and from the College of Fine Arts. Where the department had counted 7 graduate students in 1923, there were at least 65 in 1936. "The location is ideal, but the present space is entirely inadequate for our purposes," Cook reported. He proposed that if suitable space were found, personal libraries of several professors could be installed. Temporary improvement was achieved when the Center moved to the second floor of the Hotel Carlyle at 981 Madison Avenue. Even while the department was functioning from this location, remodeling of a real home was under way.
The Institute of Fine Arts
Two flagpoles on the facade of 17 East 80th Street were the only token of the transformation from town house to institutional use. With the support of Percy S. Straus, the house had been purchased from the estate of Paul Warburg to serve as the first really independent headquarters of the graduate department. The building, its facilities, and the department it housed were given the collective title of the Institute of Fine Arts. Its function was to provide graduate training in the history of art. Long since forgotten, and little known even in its day, was another Institute of Fine Arts of the University. This was the unofficial name in 1930 for a complex of three cities (Paris, Berlin, and Munich) -- the European centers of N.Y.U.'s fine arts program. There is a nice symmetry in the turn of history which brought distinguished emigres from those three cities to the staff at East 80th Street. The exodus continued with grim developments in Europe, and everywhere art historians knew that colleagues and students awaited them at the Institute.
It is a truism that European professorships are tightly rationed in accordance with a rigid table of organization. There is likely to be only one Chair in a subject such as the history of art, but some luxurious academic establishments may include special Chairs for archeology, Far Eastern art, and other branches. In France or England a student chooses his professor and then enrolls in the appropriate university. In Germany, he may shift schools from year to year. The American student who came to the Institute of Fine Arts for an M.A. or Ph.D. found an imposing array of professors whose offerings could not be encompassed by a German student rotating for ten years in all of Western Europe. The galaxy included university teachers and museum curators from all over Europe and the United States.
The nucleus of the faculty consisted of Walter Cook as Chairman and Richard A. Offner, A. Philip McMahon, Walter Friedlaender, Karl Lehmann, and Dimitri Tselos as the regulars, with Erwin Panofsky in visiting status. Alfred Salmony and Martin Weinberger were what might be called resident lecturers. A monolithic philosophy in such a staff was just as unlikely as a single party line in French politics. The intellectual styles ranged from Offner's largo perfectionist connoisseurship to the literary presto of Panofsky's dazzling iconographical interpretations. There were other orientations as well: the classical aesthetic and archeological tinge which went with prehistoric and barbaric art, and the grand sweep of history and belles-lettres for the Baroque.
Many university departments had reputations for strong accents in their methodological if not philosophical orientation. Harvard, for example, seemed deeply committed to the "seeing" and "pure forms" associated with connoisseurship. The word "iconography" would have seemed discordantly out of place at the Fogg. Princeton's was an iconographic orientation on theological, rather than general literary lines, visibly crystallized in the Princeton Index of Christian Art. The Institute in New York could not be easily characterized, although some were heard to say, "You iconographers," forgetting Richard Offner while paying homage to Panofsky. The views at the Institute, never homogeneous, converged only in an emphasis upon scholarly attainments.
Inevitably, students were spoken of (and still are) as "working with" this or that professor, and later as students of the professor. This has never been true in the European fashion, in which the training and fate of the student rested with the professor. At the Institute, the student did indeed find the professor most congenial to his interests and ambitions and wrote his thesis and dissertation for that professor. In contrast with the European system, however, the student had to complete many courses and seminars with other professors. These others were not mere juniors to a Chair but equally professors in the European spirit. By the time a student came to work with a professor, he had been exposed to diverse intellectual experiences and influences. Nor could the most intellectually vain professor cherish the belief that he had wrought a student single-handed.
In the old Greek myth, nobody -- least of all Marsyas -- expected that he would be flayed for having lost a musical contest with Apollo. The graduate students at the Institute of Fine Arts, though they knew about the flaying, gained inspiration from Marsyas's bold challenge to the gods. In 1941 they created their own Marsyas (Studies in the History of Art) with articles by students issued in a photo offset publication. The teachers displayed a more magnanimous spirit than Apollo. Still there were some who were disposed to flay the challengers for trying; and the pessimists among them predicted a one-shot affair. Twenty years later, Marsyas still flourishes, printed in real letterpress, with halftone illustrations, glossy paper and all the rest. It has been widely accepted among scholars in the field, abundantly quoted, and subscribed to by most of the major libraries of fine arts here and abroad. Marsyas is the only journal of the history of art to be turned out entirely by graduate students. Its once youthful contributors, now ensconced in colleges all over the country, are a roll call of distinguished art historians.
Future professors, museum directors and curators were in the making among the young students in the Institute. From among the first half dozen to receive the doctorate from this department, Millard Meiss (1933) is now Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study as successor to Erwin Panofsky; Robert Goldwater (1937) is serving as the first Director of the Museum of Primitive Art as well as Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts; and Bernard Myers (1933), after a versatile academic career, is editor of the art book department of McGraw-Hill. The demand for Institute-trained students far outstrips the supply. Students flock to the Institute despite its austere reputation for setting the most exacting standards. The present enrollment is more than two hundred students.
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"I just passed the hat around" is Walter Cook's cheerful understatement of how he managed to hold, on the slimmest margin, a formidable portfolio of "blue-chip" full-time faculty. While only a small fraction of that faculty held proper University appointments, he proceeded with such aplomb that the program was planned first and the funds raised as required. If anybody felt the uncertainties of year-to-year appointments and financing, nobody seemed to be thinking about anything but the teaching job at hand. Any businessman would have blanched if he knew how the budgeting was being managed behind the scenes. Erwin Panofsky's salary, for example, was pieced together out of more than two dozen sources, from foundations to individual contributions of fifty dollars or less.
Even ten years after the move to 80th Street, there were still only six full-time professors in the budget. Three were from the pre-Institute days (Walter Cook, Richard Offner, and Dimitri Tselos), and two had become incorporated into the regular group (Karl Lehmann and Martin Weinberger), while Walter Friedlaender had become Emeritus. Alfred Salmony, from the Cologne Museum of the Far East, was appointed as Oriental specialist; Guido Schoenberger from Frankfurt was irregularly a permanent member. As visitors, there were Erwin Panofsky and Richard Krautheimer. Only one other full-time irregular was added during Cook's tenure - Jose Lopez-Rey, whose brilliant career at the University of Madrid had been interrupted by the Spanish Civil War. H.W. Janson, the undergraduate Chairman at Washington Square, followed the tradition of A. Philip McMahon by teaching part-time at the Institute.
The Institute was not simply "treading water." One area of expansion was in archeological field work, undertaken in 1938 by Karl Lehmann who had found private support for excavations in Samothrace. This was not only of intrinsic scholarly importance, but it also provided practical field training for Institute students who went on the expeditions. Walter Cook launched another project in the Spanish Research and Publications Fund, backed by Archer M. Huntington of the Hispanic Society of America. This program provided subsidies for students and scholars -- both American and Spanish -- under Institute auspices. Also, a new venture in museum training was introduced by Hans Huth, a refugee scholar, and was subsequently carried on by Martin Weinberger for many years.
The strain under which the Institute had been working produced a major crisis which ultimately elicited strong support from the world of scholarship. The nature of that crisis is implied in a letter written in 1948 by Charles Rufus Morey: "No one who is concerned with the prosperity of research in the fine arts and archeology in this country can view the possible dissolution or impairment of the group (Institute) with anything but alarm." Lauder Greenway, who had taught at Yale and served as Secretary to the Metropolitan Museum, turned from the Advisory Committee and collaborated in the chairmanship for two years. The question of whether the present imbalance could be corrected had become inseparable form its corollary - the future leadership of the Institute, in view of Walter Cook's impending retirement.
Craig Hugh Smyth, Walter Cook's last appointment to the faculty, provided the answer to both questions. His designation as head of the department strengthened the Institute through the addition of a young scholar in sixteenth century Italian painting, known especially for his work on Mannerism. In 1951, only a year after his arrival, Craig Smyth was named Acting Head of the Department and Acting Director of the Institute of Fine Arts. When Walter Cook retired in 1953 his choice was given full endorsement and Craig Smyth was appointed to the permanent title in both positions.
The new Director moved quietly but with determination on two fronts. The first had to do with the hard core of the Institute, the Faculty; the second, with the direction of its professional destiny. Within five years (1952-57) he upgraded the existing faculty of irregulars to official University status; added six regular professorial appointments; brought new research projects of international scope to be housed and developed at the Institute. Among the appointments were those of Richard Krautheimer, foremost authority on Early Christian architecture, hitherto only on visiting status from Vassar; Rennselaer Lee, at the peak of his career; the author to fill a void in the medieval field; Alexander Soper of Bryn Mawr, unexcelled authority in Far Eastern art; Robert Goldwater, for modern and primitive art; Bates Lowry from the University of Chicago, to broader the base in architectural history. Rennselaer Lee and Bates Lowry moved on to become chairmen of their own departments. Their places were taken by others: for architecture, Wolfgang Lots from the Central Institute of Art History in Munich and , more recently, Vassar College; for the painting of northern Europe, Charles Sterling, curator of the Louvre; for European painting and museum training, Colin Eisler from Yale. A research project documenting links between the Renaissance and antiquity, launched by the Warburg institute in London, was given a permanent base at the Institute. But that project was simply the first expression of a new direction in which the Institute was to develop.
The James B. Duke House
It was Craig Smyth, working with Robert Lehman and Lauder Greenway, the Chairmen of the Trustees Committee on Fine Arts and the Advisory Committee of the Institute, and supported by President Newsom, who acquired the James B. Duke House. In the end, James J. Rorimer, Director of the Metropolitan, also gave his considerable support to the negotiations. It was presented in 1958 by Mrs. James B. Duke and Doris Duke to provide new quarters for the Institute of Fine Arts.
After an intensive process of remodeling, the Duke House was ready by Christmas,1958, and the formidable campaign of moving was carried out by Bates Lowry and Clemencia Kessler, Miss Wolf's able successor. The palatial rooms underwent strange transformations. The ballroom became a lecture room. The musicians' gallery housed the battery of projectors. The bedrooms became libraries in particular fields. The servants' quarters provided office space for professors. The main bathroom -- a gargantuan affair -- was stripped and converted into the photographic archive.
The splendor of the Duke House needs little celebration, but it was not for the opulent setting that the new quarters were sought. The academic pattern of the Institute had been established and its place in the University assured. Indeed, other institutions were beginning to flatter the Institute through imitation. In part this came through the dispersion of Institute graduates, but it was increasingly apparent that the pattern developed at 17 East 80th Street was becoming an academic formula. New visions issuing out of established ideas and practices began to demand fulfillment. It was now a question of realizing the possibilities of the Institute as a research center. And if the Institute seemed to be transcending conventional bounds for graduate departments, then so much the better!
Craig Smyth turned to the enormous task of implementation. It would require substantial development of of the library and photographic collections. It would require a different accent in teaching and affect the choice of faculty and research associates. It would entail new kinds and levels of affiliation with other institutions of learning and research as well as museums. that such radical plans were not simply written off as blueprints for a dream house of the future suggests the fruitful relationship which had developed among Craig Smyth, Robert Lehman, Lauder Greenway, and the remarkable membership of the Institute's Advisory Committee.
As reinforcement to the Library -- an area of weakness -- the University endorsed a program of collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum, with special library privileges for students and staff. However, because of the need for a working library right at hand, the way was prepared for a gift by a life-long friend of the Institute, who established the McAfee Library of Ancient Art. But what of the medieval, renaissance, baroque, modern, and other fields? The classical library must be regarded as a model for what has yet to be done in other areas.
Karl Lehmann had made plans for expanding archeological research in new areas while completing the final campaigns on Samothrace. Peter H. von Blanckenhagen of the University of Chicago came as his successor not only in teaching but in planning and directing new excavation projects. What was once a one-man field has become a department in itself. The classical area now includes excavations in Greek as well as Roman sites. Mrs. Karl Lehmann continues the Samothracian field work for the Institute. Peter von Blanckenhagen, in collaboration with J.B. Ward Perkins of the British School in Rome, will conduct the Institute work in Roman excavation.
In the field of early Christian archeology a beginning has been made through the Phyllis Lambert Architectural Research Fund, which enables Richard Krautheimer to continue his excavations in Rome and to carry on publication of his Corpus of early Christian basilicas.
A new program of teaching the non-western arts has been undertaken. Where once the entire field, in all its diversity, was traversed by a single professor, the late Alfred Salmony, Craig Smyth has conceived a plan of great breadth. Not only does the Institute publish Artibus Asiae, a scholarly journal of international scope, but Alexander Soper began to direct studies in the Far Eastern area. Richard Ettinghausen of the Freer Gallery in Washington was added as Adjunct Professor in the Near Eastern area. Still another participant is Bernard V. Bothmer of the Brooklyn Museum, a widely acknowledged authority on the art of ancient Egypt.
In research, two major programs are under way conducted as independent projects by research associates. The Census of Antique Monuments Known to Renaissance Artists, directed by Phyllis P. Bober, has no exact counterpart anywhere. A photographic archive of Renaissance prints, long dreamed of by scholars, is now sponsored by the Institute, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Warburg Institute. The master set of this archive, organized by Research Associate Dorothy Shorr, is kept at the Institute.
Other Research Associates have been assigned to monumental publication enterprises of the Institute, including Richard Offner's Corpus of Florentine Painting and Richard Krautheimer's Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae. Both publications originated in past decades and are still in process of preparation.
Museum training, which formerly had consisted of a single course, has become a full-fledged program taught jointly by the Institute and the Metropolitan Museum. The program combining historical training at the Institute and direct experience at the Museum is unique. Thus, from the history of art as an academic discipline, the Institute extended its domain into museum work and connoisseurship.
Still lacking, however, was another foundation stone -- conservation. In popular parlance -- and in practice at its least imaginative -- the field is inadequately described as restoration. In its highest professional sense, conservation deals with the scientific, technical, and curatorial aspects of works of art. The field involves more than first-aid techniques, since the areas of our ignorance demand constant study. With the help of experts, the Institute launched what promises to be the first comprehensive program in this area. Its threefold aim includes the training of professional conservators, scientific research in conservation, and the establishment of a University center open to professional exchange. Thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation, the enormous kitchens and a good part of the subbasement of the Duke House are now devoted to conservation. Sheldon Keck gave up a post at the Brooklyn Museum to become Director of the Conservation Center, and Seymour Lewin turned from chemistry to serve as scientist for the Center. Lawrence Majewski and and Jane Sheridan also brought their scientific skills to the Conservation Center. It is as if the restless spirit of the Gothic tower, which first witnessed the collaboration between the arts and sciences in Morse's time, had finally settled in the tiled kitchens of the Fifth Avenue mansion.
There can be no conclusion to the story of a creative, dynamic institution, but an epilogue is possible. Erwin Panofsky retired from his professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study and, to all intents and purposes, from teaching. At least he resisted the usual blandishments from various institutions. Yet upon being asked to return to his first academic home in this country, he agreed with alacrity. There is an historical fillip in this occasion, for Erwin Panofsky has been appointed to the Samuel F. B. Morse Professorship at the Institute. The title revives the Chair which opened the history of this department almost forty years ago.
In writing to the author, Erwin Panofsky remarked: "You must not expect too much of me anymore; but I shall do my best. And you and your colleague's attitude remind me of the stork who, according to all Bestiaries and emblem books, symbolizes pietas because 'The young storks when their parents lose their feathers and are no longer able to keep warm and to fly out for food, warm them with their own plumage and provide them with nourishment.' " In its new setting, the Institute has sometimes been called the Palazzo Ducale. A new name, coined by Panofsky out of the history of ideas, is spreading with infectious enthusiasm. The Institute is now called, with affectionate reverence, The Stork Club.