Preserving Creative Spaces: Photographs of Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios is an exhibition of photographs of the artists whose homes, studios, and landscapes, now open as public sites, comprise the membership of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s national consortium, the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program (artistshomes.org). This group of forty-eight affiliated sites includes the John F. Peto Studio Museum. The artists associated with these properties represent the historical evolution of art in this country, with breadth that spans over 150 years, tremendous geographic diversity, and varied representation in painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, furniture, and decorative arts. From photographer Alice Austen’s nineteenth-century picturesque homestead in Staten Island, NY, to furniture designer Sam Maloof’s twentieth-century rustic residence and studio in Alta Loma, CA, these extraordinary sites introduce more than one million visitors annually to the living and workspaces of American artists across the country.
These images of artists at home, working in their studios, in the landscape, or on their travels tell visual stories that deepen our understanding of their lives, their creative processes, and their art. Through them the viewer gains access to the artists’ private worlds – allowing entry into the act of art making, and in some instances the ability to see the objects, landscapes, and surrounding viewsheds that inspired these artists. Some of these images are candid shots of artists caught in moments of creativity, while others represent carefully posed portraits that conjure questions about self-fashioning and promotion of the artist-genius persona. The copies of the photographs on exhibition have been selected by each respective site.
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Preserving Creative Spaces was organized by Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios and made possible by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, with additional funding from Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, West Palm Beach, Florida. Printing and framing of images were underwritten in part by Sohn Fine Art, Lenox, Massachusetts. The Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios Program is supported by generous grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.
The John F. Peto Studio Museum received funding this year from a grant administered by the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission from funds granted by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.