Vassar Today

It's a Picasso

By Emery Bernhard

When President Fergusson announced that she will retire at the end of this academic year, her close friend and supporter Virginia Herrick Deknatel ’29 decided to honor her with a splendid gift to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center—the major Cubist painting by Pablo Picasso, Glass, Guitar, Musical Score.

“This gift has immense personal meaning for me,” said Fergusson. “GinnyDeknatel 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.”

The painting is the fourth Picasso to enter the art center’s collection and the first at Vassar to represent the artist’s Cubist period. A studio-bound still life, Glass, Guitar, Musical Score is an expression of the pastel-toned style of Cubism that Picasso practiced after the First World War. Serene and harmonious, the painting reflects Picasso’s immersion 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.