(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld. Only letters under 400 words can be printed because of space limitations.)
To the Editor of the Crimson:
"Despite its (the Fogg's) brilliant exterior it is a rotting hulk aimlessly floating on a sea of meaningless and unrelated detail. . . . When it comes to relating fine arts to the life and thought of an epoch, particularly the epoch we are living in, the department is inadequate, barren, and moribund."
The quotation is from the Crimson's editorial dealing with the Fine Arts Department; the editorial leads one to suppose that these are opinions expressed in, or at least justified by, the Council's report on the department. Such is not the case.
The editorial is unfair to the Fine Arts Department for its makes statements such as:
"The recent establishment of a fellowship for the study of modern art is a hollow mockery, when the one man (Feild) that can save the department from its past must go." However stimulating a teacher he may be, Professor Feild is obviously not the only man that can improve the department. The fellowship for the study of modern art is not a "hollow mockery" but will certainly help in the consideration of art in relation to the present.
"The study of fine arts has become largely a matter of identifying pictures." This is just not true.
The editorial is also unfair to the Student Council committee, as it misrepresents their report which was moderate in tone, the principal points being that there should be greater emphasis placed on the teaching of art history as one of the humanities and less overconcentrating in the field. The Crimson has turned what was intended as constructive criticism into an hysterical and destructive attack.
One can only hope that the Crimson's statements will not blind the Fine Arts Department to the value of the suggestions made in the report. John Keppel '40.
(Ed. note--The Crimson regrets that publication of Mr. Keppel's letter was unavoidably delayed.
In recommending that assistant professor Feild be reappointed, the Council said that his loss was "depriving the students at Harvard of a more complete understanding of the Fine Arts," and that he filled a definite need for "excellent teaching in the theory of visual arts." Moreover, a petition signed by 80 per cent of the Fine Arts concentrators called Feild's non-reappointment "a serious blow to the teaching of Fine Arts," and warned that "with the loss of Mr. Feild the Department (Fine Arts) is in danger of becoming one-sided."
The recently established fellowship for the study of modern art will be of little or no direct benefit to undergraduates.
Mr. Keppel has noted that the report recommended more emphasis on teaching of art history as one of the humanities and less overconcentration in the field. But the report also maintained that "The student is overwhelmed by a mass of detailed information," and took the Department's teaching standards to task for stressing memory rather than original thought.
On these grounds the Crimson felt justified in making "an hysterical and destructive attack.")