During a recent trip to New York, we discovered this lovely row house studio (249 1/2) on East 13th Street. I can’t imagine a better place to work! Because of its small size, I imagine if it had been a regular home, it probably wouldn’t have survived. But, thanks to its famous owners, it’s here to be enjoyed today. It’s a very unusual house with a large stone sign, somewhat mixed architectural influences, and, only two stories. I’m always on the look-out for small row homes and since its neighbors are all much taller, this one really caught my eye.
The studio belonged to noted sculptors Karl Bitter and Giuseppe Moretti and was built in 1892 by Bitter. Bitter, from Austria, and Moretti, from Italy, were architectural/sculptural artists, active during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They produced many public works and most likely met through a mutual friend, the architect Richard Morris Hunt (from the Daytonian in Manhattan blog) with whom they both worked. They only used the home as a studio and for only a year or so. The sculptors lived in an adjacent apartment building and no one knows why they stopped using the studio together.
When I looked up the sculptors to learn more about them, I discovered that Bitter produced architectural work for the Jayne House in Philadelphia, as well as the statue of William Pepper in the Free Library. I always love discovering another New York/Philadelphia connection!
Other noted works by the artists include:
- Statue of William Pepper (Bitter)
- Andrew Dickson White statue at Cornell University (Bitter)
- Statue of Vulcan (Moretti)
- Monument to Stephen Foster at Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh (Moretti)
Currently, the studio appears to be the office of a talent agency.