Fifteen months ago the Courtauld Institute was faced with the need to choose its future direction. The process was well organized and meticulous and the outcome was a clear wish for independent status within the University of London. In tandem with this vision realisation process fundraising was progressing, making the dream a possibility. It is due in large part to the huge efforts of the group in the photograph opposite that the dream is now a reality. The funds have been attracted by the reputation and excellent quality of the Institute as a whole. These were alluded to when, in his speech at the dinner celebrating the Courtauld, Chairman-elect Nicholas Ferguson praised the 'quality of the staff, present, retired and in that great gallery in the sky where all questions of attribution are finally settled’. The next phase of the Institute can now be viewed with hope and enthusiasm.

This issue of the News rightly blows the Institute’s trumpet with its superb achievement of the Research Assessment Exercise; the accompanying illustration is one of many that could have been chosen. It flags the American Art Programme which over the last five years has become, according to Dr. Mignon Nixon, the site for a sustained re-examination of the histories of American art in an international context, and looks to an exciting future. We are reminded in the article on negatives that technology is ephemeral and conservation problems lurk in dark corners. It puts the question of photographs on paper versus alternative storage of photographic images into stark perspective.

The News also celebrates the considerable success of the Art on The Line exhibition, which sadly came to an end in January. Would that it could have remained for double the length of time. Recently the Gallery has received some impressive loans and a gift of sculpture by Jacques Lipchitz.

It is important to draw attention to exhibitions in Somerset House which complement the collections of the Courtauld. The exhibition of the work of Caspar David Friedrich in the Hermitage Rooms’ will offer a rare opportunity to see this artist in London.

The newsletter reflects as ever the great diversity of activities within the walls of the Courtauld and its context, Somerset House.