Scholar of early French Medieval sculpture Willibald Sauerländer, a professor at the University of Freiburg and visitng professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, lectured on "The Sculpture of Reims Cathedral," particularly the influence of ancient works on Reims figures of the 1220s and 30s. "In the period between 1220 and 1230," wrote Ann Thomas in The Miscellany News, "sculpture at Reims entered a new phase of influence.  Not only is it closer to the normal Gothic style, as seen in the elevation of the Virgin to a position of prominence in the decorative scheme, but in several instances it bears resemblance to antique prototypes.  Professor Sauerländer feels that, while there was not a wholesale antique revival, a few artists were strongly influenced by studies of antiquity.... Unfortunately, Professor Squerländer in his lecture did not answer the question of how the Reims sculptors came to be influenced by antiquity, and what antique monuments were available for observation."

Professor Sauerländer's Gotische Skulptur in Frankreich (Gothic Sculpture in France, 1970,1971) established him as a leading historian in his field. He became director of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, in 1970.