Whitney Studio. Photo via New York Studio School
Today, the Whitney Studio in Greenwich Village was named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A birthplace of the Modern American Art movement the Whitney Studio served as the studio and private salon for the sculptor and arts patron, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and as the first site of the Whitney Museum of Art. Whitney was the oldest daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, whom you may remember from his over-the-top French chateau mansion on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
Photo by Margot Note/World Monuments Fund via New York Studio School
The Whitney studio was originally a carriage house, built in 1877 on West 8th Street. It was converted in 1907 and in 1918 Whitney commissioned her friend and American artist Robert Winthrop Chanler to design the space. Today, it’s one of the few remaining examples of 20th century decorative art still in place.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney working in the studio. Photo courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation.
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Whitney’s work to showcase American art at the studio spurred the modern art movement in the United States, and in 1929 the space became the original site of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Today, the Whitney Studio is owned and operated by the New York Studio School (NYSS). It was designated a landmark back in 1992 and placed on the 2012 World Monument Fund watch list. NYSS became the stewards of the studio and has been restoring and repairing damage to the landmark, but it is still in need of $2.2 million in restoration due to water damage and over-painting. The National Trust has made a $30,000 grant to NYSS and will be working with the school on the funding and restoration process.