News & Events


Tongues in Trees: Xylography and the Uses of Adversity. Art Library, Sept. through Dec., 2014. Prints and books by Frans Masereel, Werner Pfeiffer, and Stanley Donwood. Join us for the exhibit opening reception on Thursday, September 11, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. in the Art Library main reading room.

Never Before Has Your Like Been Printed”: The Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493 - Main Library: August 27 through Dec. 10.

Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings 1475-1540. FLLAC: Sept. 19 - Dec. 14, 2014. The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington. It is generously supported at Vassar by the Evelyn Metzger Exhibition Fund.








Back to the Future: The New Vassar College Art Library

The Vassar College Art Library is a rare example of a complete modernist interior from the pre-World War II period in the United States.  Built in 1937, the interior was designed by John McAndrew, an architect as well as educator, who taught architectural history and drafting in the Vassar College Department of Art from 1931 to 1937. 

The clarity, openness, and textured warmth of the space is in keeping with the American or what McAndrew termed a "naturalized" version of the machine aesthetic, which he would go on to promote in his role as Curator of the Department of Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art between 1937 and 1942. The design also has elements in common with the streamline style of Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes. McAndrew's Art Department colleagues referred to this dynamic and forward-looking space as the expression of a new functionalism in architecture.  

As a learning environment it was exactly that, an elegantly-crafted machine in which every surface, volume, and element was shaped and illuminated for the efficient appropriation of a knowledge of the history of art through group and individual study.  McAndrew's space has now been carefully renovated to recover its original function through the introduction of new visualization technologies as well as through a restoration of the original interior on designs by another architect/educator, the late Paul Spencer Byard, and his partner Charles A. Platt, of the New York-based firm of Platt Byard Dovell White.  To view a slideshow of the original space as it appeared in 1937, follow this link. For a Quicktime VR panoramic view of the main reading room, click on the image above. For additional pre- and post-renovation panoramas of the reading room and group study rooms, click here. For a pre-construction rendering by Paul Byard and Charles Platt, click here.




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