Posts Tagged ‘John LaFarge’

A 10th Street studio brings artists to the Village

May 6, 2013

WorthingtonwhittredgeIn 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.

WilliammerrittchaseThe 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.

The bachelor apartments of Washington Square

June 18, 2010

For young artists new to New York City in the 1870s, finding a place to live and work was tough. Landlords and boarding-house owners looked at bachelors with suspicion. Money was always tight.

Which is why a local businessman built this six-story red brick apartment building on Washington Square East in 1879.

Its rooms were intended for unmarried men only. The name, the Benedick, reflected the clientele: Benedick is the bachelor in Much Ado About Nothing.

Because the Benedick had studios on the top floor, it attracted artists, such as Winslow Homer (left) and John LaFarge.

Things may have gotten smutty there in the 1880s. That’s when it became home base for the Sewer Club, which included Stanford White and Augustus St. Gaudens.

The Sewer Club could have been innocent fun, but since notorious womanizer Stanford White was a member, well, probably not.

By the 1920s, the Benedick was bought by New York University; bachelor artists had to find living quarters just like everyone else.