Julianna Force (1876-1948), museum director
The New York Studio School occupies the original site of the Whitney Museum of American Art and recalls the successful partnership between two visionaries: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, whose patronage built the foundations of the Whitney Museum, and Julianna Force, the Museum's first director and the person who molded Whitney's original concept into a workable enterprise. The two women created the first museum exclusively devoted to exhibiting American Art while sponsoring the greatest number of non-academic artists in the United States. The genesis for this type of museum dates back to 1914 when Whitney opened the Whitney Studio to exhibit her personal collection and prevailed upon Force to manage it. In 1929 she offered the entire collection--nearly 500 pieces--to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with an offer to build a new wing. The offer was rejected, and in 1931 Whitney, after remodeling the studio in a more Moderne and Classical revival style, opened the Whitney Museum with Force as the gallery manager. Under Force, the museum avoided the simple display of established artists, preferring to exhibit the progressive side of American Art. The Whitney became the first museum to display American abstract art and it was instrumental in reviving interest in 19th-century American artists such as Winslow Homer and Robert Feke. The Whitney moved from this location in 1954. Thirteen years later the New York Studio School saved the building from demolition. With a faculty of renowned artists, art historians, and critics, the New York Studio School has been educating students in the rigors of art since 1967.
The New York Studio School, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 8 West 8th St. in New York City, NY. Tours of the building are by appointment only. For tour information, contact Lauren Wibauer at 212-777-0742.