The Arts Curriculum, 1945-1960


The New School Bulletin 1945-1946

Art courses ranged from general, international art history, to specific styles and corresponding time periods and countries. There were also technique courses for amateurs and students with serious interests, which included oil painting, frescoes, mural paintings, drawings and composition, sculpting and photography. Music courses included basic introduction, theory, music history and writing music criticism.


The New School Bulletin 1946-1947

Most of the same courses from the previous year were offered, including Introduction to Art and Psychology of Art, and also more art history courses on different time periods and styles. Art Workshops included Painting, Drawing and Composition, Illustration, Sculpting with wood and stone, oil painting, mural painting, frescoes, printing, graphic journalism and photography. Graphic artistry, wood engraving and abstract drawing were added. Music courses consisted of the same Introduction to Music, covering different forms and psychology of music. Other courses included ear training, writing criticism, and Music Theory. They added Piano Improvisation and Free Composition.


The New School Bulletin Spring 1947

No new courses were added in the Visual Arts. The same courses from the previous year were open for students: Psychology of Art, Art Workshops for Painting, Drawing and Composition, Illustration, Sculpting with wood and stone, oil painting, mural painting, frescoes, printing, graphic journalism and photography. Music courses did not broaden either. The following courses remained: Intro to Music, Writing Music Criticisms, Piano Improvisation, Keyboard Harmony and Improvisation, Music Theory, Ear Training and Free Composition. New courses included: Understanding the Modern Composers and Three Concerts in Modern Music.


The New School Bulletin 1947-1948

New courses included The Unity of the Arts in Human Civilization, which focused on the unity of Fine Arts, Music, Theater and Literature making up “Art” as a whole, and Modern Painting, which looked at the major painters including Cezanne, Matisse, and Van Gogh, and the movements of cubism and surrealism. Modern Color-Space Composition in Drawing and Painting detailed structural principles for artists and teachers working in the commercial art field. Plastic Experiments in Painting, Woodcuts gave knowledge of the structure of wood, cutting and printing, which differed from Sculpture in Wood and Stone. Portraiture with the Miniature Camera offered knowledge in exposure, film development and enlargement. All other Fine Art courses remained the same. Music courses were slowly beginning to broaden in genre, from Opera in Our Time, Music of the Peoples of the World, The Music of the Bible. The rest of the music courses stayed the same as the previous year.


The New School Art Bulletin 1948-1949

The courses slightly expanded with one geared towards advanced students called Advanced Painting and Composition. There was a new offering with a class specifically devoted to sculpture modeling in clay. A Lithography course was created as well as an experimental course named Visual Fundamentals of Form and Color Composition. It said it would “stress the creative aspects of the evolution of form.” Visual Communication Techniques, “an introductory workshop course to familiarize students with art techniques for making specific communications—the transition between studio and vocational practices,” added to the business-oriented courses. And lastly, an Architecture course was added.


The New School Art Bulletin 1949-1950

Wood Engraving, Woodcut and Illustration was experimentally added and removed from the courses offered, as opposed to a on woodcutting and graphic printing class that was offered consistently. There were two additional courses taught by Berenice Abbott. Along with her Advanced course aimed towards the serious photographer “to protect their mastery of the photographic medium,” an introductory course called Basic provided “the importance of sound fundamentals for beginners—work in laboratory and field, including a field trip, coordinated with lectures on photographic theory.” The most interesting of her courses was Advanced Photographic Techniques by Field Trips, which was limited to 10 students only. The class only met on Saturdays to focus on “serious projects that need help being mapped out and executed.” New art history courses included Revolutionary Art: from J.L. David to Picasso and Special Problems in Pictorial Journalism: A Seminar.


The New School Art Bulletin 1950-1951

The cover photograph finally changed. The picture is still of the front of 66 W. 12th St, however it depicts the students congregating in front of the building and not just the building itself. The new courses included silk-screening. In photography, Berenice Abbott’s course called Advanced Photographic Techniques by Field Trips was omitted, and replaced with Field-Trips for Amateurs, which was less exclusive and open to the general student population. This course was “designed for beginners to record their experiences in travel or at home … and consists of field trips and the taking of pictures only.” A new class was offered on Crafts: Jewelry and Leather. New art history courses included: Masterpieces in New York Art Museums: How to Look at a Picture, Women in the French Arts, and Literature of the Twelfth Century and Art and Ritual.


The New School Art Bulletin 1951-1952

The cover photo changed once again to a cleaner, sleeker picture of the 66 W. 12th St building—no students. Pictures were added of the instructor/artists above all the courses of the instructor/artists above all the courses they taught. The new courses included modeling in terra cotta, another in modeling in tin, and sculpture in iron. The course Etching and Printing, which sought to provide “full acquaintance with the etching medium and intaglio printing technique,” returned. There are two new courses in photography The Small Camera in Photography Today and Photographing New York and its People. New lectures include The Development of Art in China, Art and Authority: Dictatorial Threat and Democratic Challenge, and Creative Possibilities in Photography: A Seminar.