In 1858, as Pfaff’s beer cellar at 647 Broadway began attracting an arts-oriented crowd, a new building just blocks away on 10th Street would further build Greenwich Village’s reputation as a neighborhood of artists.
Called the Tenth Street Studio Building, it was a handsome three-story structure made up of 25 studios plus communal space.
“[The studios were] an attempt to create a place for visual artists and architects to live together, to have affordable studio space, and to sell their works,” wrote Michelle and James Nevius in Inside the Apple.
Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the building, at 55 West 10th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, was a hit with artists.
Winslow Homer, John LaFarge, Frederick Church, Alexander Calder, Worthington Whittredge (above), and William Merritt Chase all took studio space there.
Chase even made the interior of his studio, crammed with objects and art collected during his travels, into a subject numerous times. This painting, from 1880, features an attractive young woman, a Bohemian feel, and a shadowy profile of Chase (below) on the right.
The Tenth Street Studios inspired the building of other artists’ spaces in the neighborhood, which drew more artists and art lovers to Greenwich Village. Ever since, the Village has been known for its creative culture.
Too bad the Tenth Street building that started it all no longer exists. Photographed by Berenice Abbott in 1938 (top), it was knocked down 18 years later to make way for an apartment house.