Grand Central Art Galleries
The artists’ cooperative established in 1922 by Walter Leighton Clark, John Singer Sargent, Edmund Greacen, and others, known as the Painters and Sculptors Gallery Association, used the Grand Central Art Galleries as their exhibition and administrative space. Hovsep Pushman, George de Forest Brush, and Sargent, whose posthumous show took place there in 1928, were among the artists intimately associated with the galleries.
The Galleries lasted from 1923 until 1994. For the first twenty-nine years they were located on the sixth floor of Grand Central Terminal. At their 1923 opening, the Galleries offered nine exhibition areas and a reception room. In 1958 the Galleries moved to the second floor of the Biltmore Hotel, to a more limited space of six exhibition rooms and an office. They remained at the Biltmore until it was converted into an office building twenty-three years later. From there the Galleries moved to 24 West Fifty-seventh Street, where they remained until their dissolution.
The Grand Central Art Galleries also directed a number of other enterprises, including the Grand Central School of Art started in 1923, a branch gallery at Fifth Avenue and Fifty-first Street opened in 1933, and Grand Central Moderns established in 1947 to show non-figurative works. The Grand Central Art Galleries were also responsible for the creation, design, and construction of the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 1930−1954.
Among the numerous exhibitions held at the Galleries, of particular note is the posthumous exhibition of John Singer Sargent’s work, opened on February 14, 1928. Sargent had died in 1925, and three years later the Grand Central Art Galleries organized an exhibition of his previously unseen sketches and drawings. The materials were found in the artist’s London studio after his death, and Sargent’s sisters chose Walter Leighton Clark to look at them for an exhibition. Clark selected several hundred works, including early drawings made by Sargent as a teenager, experiments with watercolors from 1872, and the preparatory sketches for paintings such as Madame X, currently in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Gassed, now in the National Gallery in London.
Also of note, was the January 31, 1934 exhibition The Races of Man, a collection of ninety life-sized bronze sculptures by Malvina Hoffman. Field Museum of Natural History director Stanley Field, actress Mary Pickford, and philanthropist Helen Clay Frick, among many others, attended the opening.