Repairs Planned for Former Studio of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

The ghost of arts patron, museum founder, and sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (looking rather sculptural herself in the ca. 1895 photo at right) can rest a little easier tonight. Her once glorious and now crumbling Greenwich Village sculpture studio, located in the backyard of the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture (NYSS), will soon undergo much needed renovations. The New York Times reports that Whitney’s 90-year-old former workroom, rife with what an NYSS representative described as “worrisome cracks,” has received a $50,000 grant from the World Monuments Fund to finance repairs that will include “stabilizing the delicate crumbling corner [of the ceiling] with vegetable-fiber paper, acrylic adhesive, and temporary beams.” In early 2009, historic preservation students will research the studio’s original decor, which included “cobalt-blue windows depicting bats, fish, and dragons amid seaweed and constellations.” Whitney, who died in 1942, was apparently quite a fan of sea creatures. According to B.H. Friedman‘s 1978 Whitney biography, the bathroom of her Long Island studio (she also had studios in Paris and Newport) included “a sunken marble tub [that was] turned into the ‘Jules Verne‘ nacreous grotto full of fish and marine life.”