An insight into where masterpieces were once created
An artist’s studio is a place of creativity and sanctuary. The space is a visual representation of an artist’s mind, where we get peeks of it laid out on various canvases, in-progress sculptures or collected materials and objects that might soon become something. Where someone chooses to work is a fascinating insight into their process. And of course, to make the best work, it’s all about location, location, location.
Using Street View, we’ve found 10 locations where famous artists once had their studios. While many of the artists featured are no longer with us, their work remains as relevant as ever.
1. Frida Kahlo’s studio and home, Mexico City
A cultural landmark in Mexico City, Frida Kahlo shared her studio and house with husband Diego Rivera. The building combines organic Mexican architecture and architectural murals with functionalism, which, during the 1930s, broke away from traditional aesthetics. Kahlo’s house has existed as a museum since 1958, just four years after the painter’s death and is one of the busiest museums in the capital.
2. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s loft studio, New York
Native New Yorker Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and worked in the loft of this building, which was then owned by Andy Warhol. Previously a horse stable and then a dance hall saloon in the 1900s, it was here the artist created the work that caught the attention of the city’s top galleries. Basquiat’s short life came to an abrupt end after he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988. While the building now houses a semi-secret Japanese restaurant called Bohemian, a commemorative plaque sits outside the building acknowledging the 5 years Basquiat lived there.
3. Matisse’s first studio in Nice, France
Henri Matisse first visited Nice in 1917, where he stayed at the Beau Rivage Hotel. Soon after he bought his first studio, right around the corner from the hotel and just next to the Promenade des Anglais – a prime spot for checking out beach dwellers. The building still looks grand and elegant but there’s little hint that the cut-out artist once resided there. Nowadays, a trip to Nice for Matisse means traveling to the Matisse Museum in the leafy Cimiez quarter, which is just a stone’s throw away from the cemetery the artist is buried in.
4. Georgia O’Keeffe’s single-storey home and studio, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Located in the village of Abiquiu, 60 miles northwest of Santa Fe, Georgia O’Keeffe lived and worked in this modest dwelling for around 38 years. The building is a single-storey house with thick, stone walls and full of modernist elements that reflect the artist’s need to make the space her own. The house is now owned by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum located in Santa Fe, which offers studio and house tours of the building.
5. Jackson Pollock’s house and studio barn, Long Island, New York
Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner bought this house in East Hampton, Long Island in 1945. To help them with the $5,000 price tag, Peggy Guggenheim, art collector and socialite, loaned Pollock and Krasner $2,000 for the down payment in exchange for artwork. There was a small barn next to the property that Pollock ended up using for his own studio. The artist’s brother had given him a large collection of square Masonite baseball game boards and Pollock used them to cover the floor of the house and studio.
6. Barbara Hepworth’s studio and garden, St Ives, Cornwall
When the Second World War came, Barbara Hepworth evacuated her family to Cornwall, where she became an active figure in developing the St Ives modernist art community. It wasn’t until 1949 that the artist set up this space called Trewyn Studio, in a bid for more room to work on her sculptures and experiment with bronze for the first time. The studio, yard and garden remained hers until her death in 1975. The building is now owned and managed by Tate, and today operates as a museum and sculpture garden of the artist’s work.
7. Salvador Dali’s extended fisherman’s hut, Girona, Spain
In 1930 Salvador Dali bought a small fisherman’s hut in the village of Portlligat, Catalonia drawn, to the quality of light there. He lived there with his partner and muse, Gala, and over the next 40 years the couple expanded and developed the space into a series of labyrinthine nooks. In one area of the house Dali installed a glass floor which allowed him to study feet and foreshortening when practicing life drawing.
8. Joan Miro’s purpose-built studio, Palma, Mallorca
The painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miro set up shop in Palma de Mallorca in 1956 and had a space designed for him by his friend Josep Lluis Sert, called The Son Abrines. The building overlooks the Mediterranean sea and has a distinctive, wing-like white roof with multi-colored shutters. In 1981, Miró and his wife established the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation in Majorca, which still preserves the Sert-built studio.
9. Irma Stern’s house and home, Cape Town, South Africa
South African artist Irma Stern lived in her Cape Town-based home and studio for almost 40 years. Originally built in the 1830s, the house was extended to include a second storey in the 1880s. Though hidden behind a wall on street level, the house and studio has been kept furnished in the way Irma had originally decorated, with the top floor being converted into a commercial gallery.
10. Alvar Aalto’s modernist studio, Helsinki, Finland
Architect, designer and painter Alvar Aalto designed his studio during 1955-56 in the Tiilimäki neighbourhood of Munkkiniemi, Helsinki. Located just 500m away from Aalto’s house, which he designed and built himself in the 1930s, the studio gave the designer space to work on a large number of commissions at once. The studio is said to be one of Aalto’s best buildings of the 1950s. Understated from the outside, the principal space in the building is a curving studio which has a view that opens onto an inner courtyard.