Places that Matter

Chaim Gross Studio

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Aviva Stampfer, 2010
Aviva Stampfer, 2010
Aviva Stampfer, 2010
Aviva Stampfer, 2010
Aviva Stampfer, 2010
Aviva Stampfer, 2010
Former studio and living quarters of sculptor Chaim Gross
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An unusual gate fronting a non-descript façade suggests something unusual among the coffee shops, restaurants, and copy shops along LaGuardia Place in the heart of Greenwich Village. Behind the gate is one of the more unique and fairly unknown sights in the Village—the Chaim Gross Studio.

The Chaim Gross Studio houses the work of sculptor Chaim Gross (1904-1991). Born in Austrian Galicia, now part of Ukraine and Poland, Gross began his art studies in Budapest. His studies were interrupted after foreigners were expelled from Hungary. Gross and his family also faced anti-Semitic pogroms back in Austrian Galicia and in the face of violent persecution, Gross immigrated to the United States in 1921.

After settling in New York City, Gross continued his studies at the Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side, beginning a relationship with that institution as a student, patron, and teacher that would last over fifty years. The still-thriving Educational Alliance began as a settlement house for Jewish immigrants that also housed a prominent art school. After completing his education, Gross embarked on his career as an artist, winning commissions for public sculpture in New York, Washington, D.C, and Paris, working with the Works Progress Administration, and mounting solo exhibitions in New York and Philadelphia. The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art selected his work for their permanent collection in the late 1930s. In 1948, Gross joined the art faculty at the New School, where he would teach for decades. His growing prominence in the New York art world was as much a result of the artists he taught and influenced, such as Louise Nevelson, as the critical reputation of his original work.