9 Famous Artists’ Studios You Can Visit, from Jackson Pollock to Barbara Hepworth
From Francis Bacon’s famously disheveled creative hive to Constantin Brancusi’s workspace, which featured his own handmade furniture, the studios of history’s most famous artists provide a trove of insight into their practices and personas. Whether they ultimately become museums or are managed by foundations (like The Easton Foundation, which is in the process of readying
Spanish painter, sculptor, and printmaker Miró—known for his
The Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró, which he established to preserve his studios, in part as inspiration to future artists, includes not only Miró’s first studio and a museum of his works, but also Son Boter, an 18th-century Mallorcan country estate house behind his own home that he bought as a space to make large-scale works. Today, its garage houses a functioning printmaking workshop, updated from Miró’s time.
At the onset of World War II, British sculptor Hepworth settled in the town of St. Ives in Cornwall, with her second husband, artist
Per her instruction, the property—including the garden that she curated to display her sculptures—was turned into a museum after she died, and has been operated under the auspices of London’s Tate since 1980. The carving studio remains virtually how she left it, while the plaster studio now includes tools and in-progress works intended to give the space an educational and narrative focus. The museum is open through October 29th, before it closes for conservation until spring 2018.
Romanian-born sculptor Brancusi was based in Paris for over 50 years. Originally located along an alley called the Impasse Ronsin, his home and studio drew prominent artists including
When he died, Brancusi left everything in his studio to the French government—and specified that the space must be perfectly recreated. The reconstructed, relocated studio now exists inside a Centre Pompidou—and houses some 137 of Brancusi’s sculptures.
In 1949, long after she had begun creating her iconic, abstracted paintings of flowers, O’Keeffe left New York and moved cross-country to continue her close observations of the natural world in the desert plains of New Mexico. There, her home and studio, in Abiquiú—which she purchased in 1945—is now a National Historic Landmark, operating in tandem with the Santa Fe campus of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, about 60 miles away. While she lived and worked in the building over the course of some 30 years, O’Keeffe created dozens of paintings based on the house and its surroundings, including its view of the Chama River. Visitors can reserve tours until just prior to Thanksgiving, before the building closes for the season, through March.
Six years after Bacon’s death in 1992, a team of archeologists, curators, and conservators moved his entire London studio to The Hugh Lane, a municipally run art gallery in Dublin, Bacon’s birthplace. The space has been recreated to reflect the exact condition Bacon left it in—namely, a mess. It was the artist’s home and workplace for three decades, and the Dublin reconstruction includes everything from the physical structure itself to the accumulated dust that gathered in the space.
Bacon’s notorious drinking and debauchery are evident in the chaos of paints and brushes; clothing that he used to transfer textures to his canvases; photographs of him and his acquaintances; destroyed, in-progress paintings; works on paper; the door and walls where he mixed paints in lieu of using a palette; loose book pages that served as source material; and a replica plaster cast of
Born in South Africa to German parents and educated in the arts in Germany (
Eventually, however, she came to be lauded as one of South Africa’s preeminent artists. The 1830s house where she lived and worked for some four decades is open to the public as the Irma Stern Museum. Stern’s studio, as well as her dining room and sitting room, are furnished as she left them, with eclectic artifacts from her travels, as well as a selection of her work, which the museum has hung from the walls. The second story, added to the space later on, operates as a gallery dedicated to contemporary South African art.
Pollock and Krasner met in 1941, in advance of a group exhibition that included both of the young
The walls, meanwhile, display photographs and texts related to both artists’ careers and show physical traces of Krasner’s paintings. Krasner’s will stipulated that the home (where she originally painted) and the studio both be a place of insight into her and Pollock’s practices and a broader educational resource for students of modern art in America, and the site now features a study center that includes archives and interviews. This National Historic Landmark is open seasonally, from May through October.
In his home at 135 Rue Esseghem in Brussels,
Magritte and his family moved in 1954, and the house passed through the hands of several tenants before it was purchased and restored as a museum in the 1990s. Using historical documents, including auction records, photos, and interviews, the René Magritte House Museum recreated the studio as it had looked in the artist’s day. In the upstairs part of the house, the museum displays Magritte’s paintings and archival materials and mounts rotating exhibitions of likeminded artists. It is also in the process of expanding to the building next door in order to display more of its collection of some 650 works of modern art.
When Ireland purchased an 1886 rowhouse in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Bay Area called it—he not only cleaned the house but also removed window trim and baseboards, sanded the floors, and preserved cracks and discolorations in the walls with polyurethane, to expose the house’s skeleton and excavate its history.
Meanwhile, he created sculptures and installations from objects and materials he found while cleaning, like rubber bands, brooms, and dirt. Reopened to the public last year after conservation and renovation (the managing 500 Capp Street Foundation preserved the existing space and added square footage to display and archive work), the house and garage feature rotating exhibitions of Ireland’s works, as well as a visiting artist series.