Reports from the Field

Channeling Robert Chanler

The exotic and wildly imaginative design for the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Studio, created between 1917 and 1923 by artist Robert Chanler, features painted plaster reliefs of fantastical sea creatures on the ceiling and an extraordinary fireplace engulfed in three-dimensional plaster and bronze flames stretching twenty feet high. Today the building is a National Historic Landmark and houses the New York Studio School in NYC's Greenwich Village.

Included in the 2012 World Monuments Watch to call attention to the important conservation needs of the Whitney Studio, WMF has worked with the New York Studio School for many years to understand more fully the original decorative campaign conceived for the room. In 2013, WMF invited NYU's Institute of Fine Arts to study the decorative plaster surrounding the fireplace. Join us for a discussion on this astonishing room, a hidden treasure with a remarkable history. WMF and the graduate students who completed this project will reveal their findings about the artistic practice of Robert Chanler.