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Museum Mile’s New Star: Salon 94

Ruby Neri, Leveled, 2021. Photography: Dan Bradica. 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, Nothing Remains the Same, 2021. Photography: Elisabeth Bernstein. Salon 94.

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.

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