If These Walls Could Talk
The Chelsea Hotel had a long and storied life from the time it first opened its doors in 1884 as one of New York’s first cooperative apartment building. Artists, writers, designers, and celebrities of all sorts found and created a home within the walls of the bohemian establishment, which, at any given time, felt more like an artists’ community than a typical hotel. At its prime, the Chelsea had art hanging on every wall, on every floor, and on every landing; the lobby even had sculpture by Eugenie Gershoy, who was a resident in the 1960s, of a child on a swing hanging from the ceiling. Current resident, artist Philip Taaffe, has lived at the Chelsea since 1991. "Untitled," a mixed media on canvas work by Taaffe, will be offerd this May as part of The Stanley Bard Collection: A Life At The Chelsea.
But while some found inspiration, others found scandal, intrigue, respite, and on occasion, each other within the rooms of the 12-story building. Here are some of the more noteworthy room numbers from the iconic hotel:
- Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Arthur Miller lived briefly in room #614, following his divorce from Marilyn Monroe in 1961
- Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe shot his first photographs in room #1017, in 1969, borrowing a friend’s camera
- Visual artist and filmmaker Harry Smith lived in room #731 from 1968 until 1975. He recorded performances written in tandem with his long-time friend and beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Smith later suffered cardiac arrest in room #328, and died shortly after
- Leonard Cohen wrote “Chelsea Hotel #2” in 1974, which makes reference to a romantic encounter he had with musician Janis Joplin in room #424 years earlier
- Bob Dylan wrote the song “Sara,” for his first wife, Sara Lownds, in room #211
- Composer Virgil Thomson moved into room #920 in 1940 and lived there until his death in 1989
- Dylan Thomas, the famous Welsh poet, stayed in room #205 just before his death in 1953 at age 39
- Thomas Wolfe wrote his first novel, “Look Homeward, Angel,” in room #831 in 1929
Please join Freeman’s on May 16 for the sale of The Stanley Bard Collection: A Life At The Chelsea. Exhibition opens to the public on May 11.
To be offered 05/16//17: Philip Taaffe (American b. 1955) “Untitled”