Walking past the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation at 526 LaGuardia Place, you just might miss it. The Foundation is the house-museum of American sculptor Chaim Gross located in historical 1830s townhouse in the heart of Greenwich Village.
Chaim was born to a Jewish family in the then Austro-Hungarian village of Wolowa (it is now part of Ukraine). IN 1914 when Chaim was 10 Russian troops invaded their home and his family became refugees for the remainder of World War I.
Gross began his art studies in Budapest but the studies were interrupted after foreigners were expelled from Hungary. Chaim and his family immigrated to the United States in 1921.
The majority of his work being carved from wood. Works by Chaim Gross can be found in major museums and private collections throughout the United States.
The townhouse, located just south of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, was built in the 1830s, in an area now best known for New York University.
In the 1880s, the property was converted into an industrial loft. Chaim and Renee Gross the house in 1963. The Grosses converted the building back to residential living, while also adding the sculpture studio on the ground floor. The artist and his wife of 59 years lived in this building from 1962 until 1991.
The studio, which remains as it was during Gross's lifetime, is the only space of its kind in New York City. It was designed by Gross himself, who laid in the intricate wood floor and constructed the dramatic skylight.
The studio exhibits major wood and marble carvings spanning sixty years, and is a testament to the life and process of the artist.
On view are 100 sculptures by Gross and 600 objects from his extensive collection of African and modern American art, featuring important paintings by de Kooning, Avery, Hartley, and Burliuk, among many others.
The museum is free and open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 1-5 pm.