Jailee and Jessica from OHNY made a visit to the Salmagundi Club yesterday. Located in the bustling student area around 5th Ave and 11th Street, it is easy to pass by without noticing it. But next time you do pass by, we highly recommend that you take a peek inside.
Just walking inside takes you back to a much earlier era. The Salmagundi Club was founded in 1871 and is one of the oldest art organizations in the country. This townhouse was purchased by the Club in 1917 and received landmark status in 1957.
It is a member organization that fosters artists and creates a welcoming environment for them to grow and develop their work. Membership numbers are around 850 and include well-known American artists such as Thomas Moran, William Merritt Chase, Louis Comfort Tiffany, N.C. Wyeth and Childe Hassam.
It is a club tradition that members leave their painting palettes once they leave and the Club displays them throughout the building (you can even see an artist palette hanging over the hallway entrance in the photo above). Just as you walk in townhouse on the left, there is the palette of George Inness, the renowned American painter and Salmagundi Club member.
On the second floor is the library, which holds an amazing collection of artist books and resources for members.
On the website, the Club explains that it “fosters an atmosphere of conviviality that encourages discussions on art and other topics and leads to lasting friendships among both artists members and patrons.” It began originally as a sketch club and slowly developed into a much larger organization.
In the lower level, you can find the dining room which is open to members and their guests. It is also open to the public on some occasions (this Sunday they will be hosting a Holiday Brunch). The dining room has a cozy feel to it and you can imagine how artists have ate and gathered here over many decades in between long hours of painting.
The Club also has a large pool room with vintage pool tables. Our tour guide confessed that many members find using the pool tables to be one of the most attractive perks of being a member. Hanging in the pool room now is the club’s winter show – on display is work featuring snowy, wintery scenes.
The Club has a lovely parlor that is decorated perfectly for the holidays. They hold special events in this space and also rent certain areas out for weddings and banquets.
Hanging on the walls of the parlor are pieces from the Club’s art collection. They have over 1,500 works that span its 140-year history. Oftentimes, members donate works to the collection or the Club buys them with a special purchase price that it set by the artist specifically for acquisition by the Club.
The Salmagundi Club also hosts exhibitions, special events, and art classes throughout the year that are open to non-members. They have participated in the OHNY Weekend for the past two years and we are happy to hear that they will be participating again in 2012. However, you don’t have to wait until next October to visit. The Club is open to the public and much of the work in their exhibition is for sale. Currently, their main gallery has a member exhibition featuring small works, all with an accompanying reasonable price tag (with part of the proceeds going back to the Club, a registered non-profit).
47 Fifth Ave