Tenth Street Studio Building

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Tenth Street Studio Building, 51 West 10th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, New York, New York

The Tenth Street Studio Building, constructed in New York City in 1857, was the first modern facility designed solely to serve the needs of artists. It became the center of the New York art world for the remainder of the 19th century.[1]

Situated at 51 West 10th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan, the building was commissioned by James Boorman Johnston[notes 1] and designed by Richard Morris Hunt. Its innovative design soon represented a national architectural prototype,[citation needed] and featured a domed central gallery, from which interconnected rooms radiated. Hunt's studio within the building housed the first architectural school in the United States.[citation needed]

Soon after its completion, the building helped to make Greenwich Village central to the arts in New York City, drawing artists from all over the country to work, exhibit, and sell their art. In its initial years, Winslow Homer took a studio there,[2] as did Edward Lamson Henry, and many of the artists of the Hudson River School, including Frederic Church, Lockwood de Forest and Albert Bierstadt.

In 1879, Johnston deeded the building to his brother John Taylor Johnston, who later became the first president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In that same year William Merritt Chase moved into the main gallery, and was joined in the building by Walter Shirlaw and Frederick Dielman. Chase's studio in particular represented the sophisticated taste which came to characterize the building.[citation needed]

In 1895, Chase departed the studio, and the building subsequently lost its prominence as an art center.

In 1920, the building was purchased by a group of artists in order to forestall commercial takeover. From that time forward, a number of New York City artists rented studio space in the building.

In 1942, the building's basement became the meeting place for the Bombshell Artists Group, an alliance of 60 modernist painters and sculptors, a number of whom had studios in the building. Henry Becket, writing in the New York Post newspaper on March 2, 1942, noted that "The artists meet in a cellar that they call The Bomb Shelter at 51 West 10th Street." He also stated that the Bombshell Group's "exhibition chairman" was Joseph Manfredi and the Group's first show was then on display at the Riverside Museum.[3]

In 1956, the Tenth Street Studio Building was razed to make way for an apartment building.[4] A penthouse apartment in the subsequently constructed apartment building, 45 West 10th Street, was purchased by the actress Julia Roberts in 2010.[5]


  1. ^ James Boorman Johnston (1822-1887) was a son of the prominent Scottish-born New York merchant John Johnston, in partnership with James Boorman (1783-1866) as Boorman & Johnston, developers of Washington Square North, and a founder of New York University; a 1831 Johnston Children group portrait is in the inventory of the Museum of the City of New york.


  1. ^ Museum of the City of New York Archived December 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ (anon.), "Evoking the World of Winslow Homer", The New York Times, August 17, 1997
  3. ^ Henry Becket, "Rembrandt Doesn't Eat, Bombshellers Do - Hence an Exhibit," New York Post, March 2, 1942.
  4. ^ Jackson, K. T.; Keller, L.; Flood, N., eds. (2010). "Tenth Street Studio Building". The encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 1291. ISBN 0300182570.
  5. ^ City woman | New York Post Archived October 24, 2010, at WebCite

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Coordinates: 40°44′04″N 73°59′51″W / 40.73437°N 73.99753°W / 40.73437; -73.99753