Artist’s Studio Restored

Julius LeBlanc Stewart,
In the Artist’s Studio, 1875, oil on
canvas, 21½ x 28¾ in. Andrea family
private collection, photograph courtesy
Sotheby’s, New York.

To celebrate the restoration of the room at Bush-Holley House that served at various times as the studio of Childe Hassam, John Twachtman and Elmer MacRae, the Greenwich Historical Society will present an exhibition exploring the changing concept of the artist’s studio. Representations of an American art student’s Parisian garret, William Merritt Chase’s opulent Tenth Street studio in New York, Dorothy Ochtman’s view of her father in the studio they shared in their Cos Cob home and the repurposed farm sheds used by artists in Old Lyme: these and other paintings will suggest the wide range of spaces in which turn-of-the-century artists worked and will provide a cultural context for the restored studio.

The studio originally doubled as bedroom and workspace for its occupants. To augment the natural light from windows on the northern and eastern exposures, the owners, the Holley family, added a dormer around 1900. Illuminated by windows on three sides, the room offered views of the abundant gardens behind the house, the millpond to one side and the bustling harbor across the street. Now when you visit the Bush-Holley house, you can more easily imagine the vistas the artists enjoyed.

Dorothy Ochtman,
A Corner of the Studio, 1928, oil on canvas,
30 x 25 in. National Academy Museum,
New York, Bequest of Dorothy Ochtman
Del Mar, 1971, 1749-P.

In addition to depictions of American artists’ studios in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the exhibition presents the models for Childe Hassam’s work in Cos Cob and a sampling of work done outside the studio in the environs by Hassam, John H. Twachtman and Elmer MacRae. A complementary exhibition, Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios, on loan from Chesterwood (the home and studio of Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French), will feature photographs that focus on the fascinating and eclectic living and workspaces of famous American artists including (among others) N.C. Wyeth, Jackson Pollock and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Attributed to Frederick MacMonnies
Atelier at Giverny, 1896 or 1897, oil on canvas,
32 x 17 in. Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.91,
Photography ©Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago.

A Good Light: The Artist’s Studio in Cos Cob and Beyond will be on exhibition through January 6, 2013. Wednesday through Sunday, Noon to 4:00 pm. Members: free; nonmembers: $10; seniors and students $8 The Greenwich Historical Society Storehouse Gallery is located on 39 Strickland Road in Cos Cob.

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