April 30, 1935
Several Vassar departments collaborated on a program of lectures, concerts and art exhibitions in a multidisciplinary study of Romantic music, art and literature. The head of the English department, Winifred Smith ’04, explained that the program was “arranged in the hope that students will…see important relationships between music, poetry and pictures and will carry further for themselves or in conference with visitors and members of the faculty, the suggestions made in the lectures.” She added, “Such explorations…as will be made are to be more frequent under the new curriculum. For in the future there will be more time free from class meetings.”
The program began with two lectures by an exchange professor at Yale University, the Anglo-Saxon philologist Max Foerster from the University of Munich, who spoke on literary periods and the psychological relations between English art and literature in the 18th century.
The following day Professor Paul H. Lang from Columbia lectured on grand opera as a product of French Romanticism, and Bruce Simonds of the Yale School of Music offered a piano recital. Columbia philosopher Irwin Edman offered, on the conference’s third day, “A Contemporary Grammar of the Arts,” and in Taylor Hall an exhibition gathered from colleges, museums and private collectors opened, displaying works by, among others, Magnasco, Laucret, Gainsborough, Delacroix, Corot, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Rouault and Tchelitchew.
On the conference’s closing day, the curator of the Wadsworth Athenaeum, A. Everett Austin, spoke on “The Romantic Agony,” and for the gathering’s concluding event, the émigré German art historian and theorist, Erwin Panofsky—lecturing at New York University and Princeton and soon to join the new Princeton Institute for Advanced Study—offered a definition of the baroque influence. The New York Times