Explore the history of the Whitney Museum and its precursors, the Whitney Studio and the Whitney Studio Club, during this visit to the Museum’s first home, now the New York Studio School.
The 1931 opening of the Whitney Museum of American Art in Greenwich Village was the culmination of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s long career as an artist, patron, and collector. Defying society’s expectations for a woman of her class, Whitney (1875–1942) sought out work as a professional sculptor, and in 1907 she purchased a carriage house on MacDougal Alley to use as a studio. Over the next decades she became deeply involved in the downtown artistic community. With the constant assistance of Juliana Force (1876–1948), who would become the Museum’s first director, Whitney opened the Whitney Studio Galleries and the Whitney Studio Club, precursors to the Museum, which provided stipends, classes, and exhibitions supporting American artists. She acquired properties adjacent to the studio to serve as the headquarters for these ventures. When the Museum opened its doors to the public, four town houses and their attached carriage houses had been consolidated into a single structure—8 West Eighth Street.
Since 1967, the building has continued its artistic legacy as the home of the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. The MacDougal Alley studio and salon, as well as other interior spaces, offer a unique view into the early history of the Museum.
Open to Whitney Circle, Fellow, and Sponsor members. RSVP required. To upgrade your membership, please call (212) 570-3641.