Standing on LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, just a few doors down from the Center for Architecture and around the corner from the Bitter End, there is an unassuming townhouse which is filled inside with thousands of works of art. 526 Laguardia Place was the home of New York City sculptor Chaim Gross and his wife Renee. The Grosses converted the 1830s loft and storefront into a studio space and home in 1963. The townhouse stands today largely as it did when Chaim Gross died in 1991.
Inside you will see an extensive collection of art he amassed from around the world and art he made throughout his life. Untapped Cities Insiders recently got to visit the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation for a tour of the home and studio led by the extremely knowledgeable and affable Sasha Davis, the foundation’s Executive Director. We got to see and learn about all of the wonderful treasures hidden inside (and even touch some). From the tools Gross used, to rare works of art he collected from his friends and family, check out what we found!
1. A Never Built Holocaust Memorial
The Warsaw Ghetto Memorial, or the American Memorial to Six Million Jews of Europe, in Riverside Park is just a plaque on the ground surrounded by a fence, but proposals for the memorial were much more elaborate. Located at the south end of the Promenade at 83rd Street, the memorial is dedicated to the six million Jewish men, women and children who were killed under Nazi rule during World War II, and more specifically to those who resisted being sent to death camps during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. It was dedicated in 1947.
Chaim Gross was one of at least six different artists who came up with a proposal for the monument. You can see the plaster maquette he made inside his studio. It stands on one of his work tables on the left side of the room. The monument Gross designed would have had a semi-circular wall backing a large menorah-like tower topped with a triumphant figure. Ultimately, none of the grand designs were chosen due to a lack of funds and instead a simple plaque was installed.