Reinstallation of sculptures leads WCMA drive to enliven campus landscaping

A copper sculpture by the late artist Herbert Ferber has just been installed between the stairways leading up to the back entrance of Lawrence Hall. For many art history students and museum-goers, Calligraph LC (1967-68), is a welcome addition to the landscape; it should the nearly completed courtyard shared by Lawrence and Chandler Gym.

Calligraph LC was first installed in 1976, along with five other pieces, by the newly-built Sawyer Library. Ferber, a longtime resident of Berkshire County and a friend of Art History Professor Emeritus Lane Faison, Jr., decided in 1975 to loan six sculptures to the college. Williams accepted the indefinite loan with an understanding that Ferber would eventually give the sculptures to the college. Within two months of the installation, the artist’s wife Edith gave Calligraph LC and Reverse Curve to Williams.

Unfortunately, during the Winter Carnival of 1978, vandals unsuccessfully tried to uproot Calligraph LC from the ground and did considerable damage to the piece. Subsequent cases of vandalism to the other pieces prompted college officials to remove the sculptures and place them in storage.

Vivian Patterson, curator of the Permanent Collection at the Williams College Museum of Art, said that the removal was prompted by the fear that the pieces would either hurt someone or sustain even further damage. Four of the pieces not owned by the college were returned to the artist. Only recently has the repair and conservation of Calligraph LC and Reverse Curve been completed.

According to Linda Shearer, the Director of WCMA, the decision to reinstall the Ferber pieces on campus marks the next phase of an ongoing commitment to install outdoor sculpture on campus. The Ferber piece was one of few pieces in the Williams collection that had the scale and power necessary to command such a challenging location.

Instrumental to the installation of Calligraph LC was Edith Ferber, whose continuing generosity helped allay the considerable conservation costs of the pieces at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. The efforts of Williams College Buildings and Grounds were also crucial to the installation of the sculptures.

The decision to place the sculpture in the courtyard surrounded by Lawrence and Chandler is a timely one: renovations on the Simon Squash Center and the walkway itself have left the area scarred by heavy construction for over a year. The construction is almost complete; the installation of the Ferber piece provides a nice accent to the already vastly improved space.

Calligraph LC is on permanent display between the stairways leading up to Calligraph LC is on permanent display between the stairways leading up to Lawrence Hall. Reverse Curve can be seen at the Trustees of Reservations property in South Williamstown, Field Farm.

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