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  • Pablo Picasso Painting Acquired by Loeb Art Center
    May 24, 2005 POUGHKEEPSIE, NY.

    Pablo Picasso, Glass, Guitar, Musical Score, 1922-23. Oil on canvas. Gift of Virgina Herrick Deknatel, class of 1929, in honor of Frances Daly Fergusson, President, Vassar College, 2005.

    Vassar College announced 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.