Twin 19th-Century Buildings Associated with Abstract Expressionism to be Considered as Landmark

827-831 Broadway, Manhattan. Image credit: LPC

Twin 1867 structures served as home for Willem de Kooning, as well others associated with Abstract Expressionism. The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to add two buildings to its calendar for consideration as an individual City landmark at its meeting on September 19th, 2017. The significance of the twin buildings, collectively labeled the 827-831 Broadway Buildings, largely derives from their association with Abstract Expressionist artists in post-World War II-era, particularly Willem de Kooning. The buildings were constructed for commercial purposes in 1866-67 for tobacco company scion Pierre Lorillard to designs by architect Griffith Thomas. The buildings’ design was inspired by Italian palazzi, and is clad in marble with cast-iron columns.

The ascendancy of Abstract Expressionism in the years after the Second World War moved the focal point of modern art from Paris and Europe to New York and the United States. Willem De Kooning was prominent in the Abstract Expressionist movement, and a member of a loose association of artists termed the “New York School.” De Kooning lived at 831 Broadway during a creatively fertile period of his career from 1958 to 1963. It served as his last New York City residence before he relocated to East Hampton.

Painter Paul Jenkins acquired the studio after de Kooning moved out and occupied it until 2000. Museum of Modern Art curator William Rubin occupied a loft in the building, where he displayed paintings by Jackson Pollock, Marc Rothko, and Franz Kline, among works painted by the residents of the buildings. Other artists who lived and worked in the buildings included Elaine de Kooning, Jules Olitski, and Larry Poons.

Landmarks Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan led a unanimous vote to add the building to the Commission’s calendar.

LPC: 827-831 Broadway Buildings, 827-831 Broadway, Manhattan (LP-2594) (Sept. 19, 2017).

By: Jesse Denno (Jesse is a full-time staff writer at the Center for NYC Law).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.