Museum Mile’s New Star: Salon 94
By Bobbie Leigh
Salon 94, the newest Upper East Side art gallery at 3 East 89th Street just steps from the Guggenheim is a spectacular cultural destination. It is also the most palatial art space not just in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood but most likely in the city The five-story, neo-Renaissance structure, now Salon 94, has been totally renovated, restored, and redone with great taste and contemporary sensibility.
Originally the new gallery was the library and exhibition space attached to the Fifth Avenue home of philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington whose wife was a sculptor and needed a studio. It was designed by architect Ogden Codman Jr. between 1913 and 1915. He was co-author with Edith Wharton of The Decoration of Houses which gives you some idea of the Beaux-Arts pedigree of this beautiful building.
In 1941, both the home and the extensions on 89th Street were donated to the National Academy of Design complex. Gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn bought one of the properties for $22.3 million in June 2019.
Ms. Rohatyn, an experienced gallerist, had previously used selected floors of her family home on 94th Street as a gallery. “Carnegie Hill has been my home for 20 years, and it’s been a great pleasure to establish and grow my [new] gallery in this historically arts-minded community …Reviving this long dormant site of such pedigree and history has been a privilege and an honor,” she says.
Working with architect Rafael Viñoly, the building’s historic bona fides have been meticulously preserved beginning with the marble and granite porte cochère and a restored herringbone brick-paver floor. The second floor sunlit space, the “Stone Room” has been restored to its original glory and it alone is worth a visit. “The only new gesture in this space are fluted sconces by Max Lamb along with contemporary art lighting,” says Ms. Rohatyn.
Salon 94 opened with a retrospective of Niki de Saint Phalle last March. Continuing a celebration of women artists, Ruby Neri is currently exhibiting new paintings and sculptures. Her multifigure scenes of nude bodies are unapologetic, brassy, and in-your-face, a throwback to the bawdy Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales.
Amani Lewis’s mixed-media paintings on the third floor are based on they’s re-discovering old family memorabilia while they was at home in Baltimore during the Pandemic. They combines storytelling, nostalgia and family relations in a monumental installation centered over the fireplace in Salon 94’s Wood Room.
And …on your visit, don’t miss the cool bathroom on the first floor with its fabulous, softly curved striking cobalt-blue tiles from Japan. The ceramic waste basket is not too shabby either.
Current and upcoming exhibitions can be found at salon94.com where you can also sign up for the gallery’s newsletter and updates on new collaborations and events.
Bobbie Leigh has written for many national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, and Departures. Currently, she is a New York correspondent for Art & Antiques.