The Salmagundi Club is one of the oldest art organizations in the U.S. Their current location at 47 Fifth Avenue was built in 1853 as the residence of the president of the Pennsylvania Coal Company and in 1917, The Salmagundi Club purchased the mansion where it has resided ever since. We recently went behind the scenes into the major renovation and have some hidden finds to share with you, discovered behind the walls of the building.
The main gallery (above) has ever changing art exhbitions, a variety of art classes, demonstrations, wonderful art auctions, concerts and sponsors the U.S. Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP). Continued fundraising has allowed for the current project. Today, it’s undergoing a facelift:
Since the building is a designated Historical Landmark (1969) and on the National Register of Historic Places (1975), preparation for this project took several years of careful planning in collaboration with architects and club members and great care was taken in removing each and every painting from the walls and books from the library.
When the main gallery wall was taken down this week, we could see the original brickwork and cement marking from September of 1937. These walls entertained members such as Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John LaFarge, N.C. Wyeth and Guy Wiggens to name just a few. The current membership is over 800.
The garden level houses offices, the dining room, pantry, bar and lower gallery complete with pool tables. The name Salmagundi came from Washington Irving’s Salmagundi Papers and the dining room still serves their famous Salmagundi Stew.
Behind the dining room is the pantry room and in opening that wall, you can clearly see a cubbard from years gone by. Members are careful to document the renovation, taking photos and posting online for all to see. Keep an eye on their website for updates or follow them on Facebook.
Not withstanding renovation, the Salmagundi Club is open to the public 7 days a week from 1:00pm to 5pm and has many non-member and free/open to the public activities.