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Picturing a World

A Tenth Street studio

Does the romantic ideal of the impoverished artist, unappreciated yet dedicated to the authenticity of his vision, survive into the commercialized 21st C? Its heyday may have been the 19th C, yet the 19th C also saw artists striving to be taken seriously as professionals. When William Merritt Chase painted his studio at the Tenth Street Studio Building, he wanted the viewer to recognize the opulence of his furnishings. An 1880 photograph shows the same chest and many props, framed pictures, mounted fans, etc.

Early in my research, this painting specially interested me, not only because it helped me visualize what Jeanette sees when she peeps into studios on her visit to the building, but also because it shows a woman (presumably one of Chase’s student) painting in the next room in the suite.

For a Daytonian in Manhattan blog post on the history of the Tenth Street Studio Building and its occupants, with many images, click here.

The best book on the subject is Annette Blaugrund, The Tenth Street Studio Building: Artist-Entrepreneurs from the Hudson River School to the American Impressionists (1997).
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