60 West Franklin Street

60 West Franklin Street, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

60 West Franklin Street, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

Chaim Gross, courtesy of Jonathan Sinaiko.

Chaim Gross, courtesy of Jonathan Sinaiko.

Chaim Gross's "Tourists," by Rosemary Hillard (2014).

Chaim Gross’s “Tourists,” by Rosemary Hillard (2014).

Those delightful Tourists outside the Public Library may be the town’s most beloved public sculpture. Not far behind are Dancing Mother and Dance Rhythm at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. The artist, Chaim Gross, who died in 1991, created many such beguiling works. Born in Wohlau, Germany (now Wołów, Poland), he studied at the Educational Alliance Art School in New York. In 1951, he and his wife, Renee, bought this splendid 2.7-acre hilltop property from the heirs of George Elmer Browne for $7,500. This was Browne’s “specially-designed studio,” Dorothy Gees Seckler wrote in Provincetown Painters, 1890s-1970s, where he conducted his West End School. He had studied at the Académie Julian, was a knight in the Légion d’Honneur, and was known for the “directness and dramatic emphasis” of his style, Seckler said, and for cutting a fine Bohemian figure. Browne died in 1946.

Mimi Gross, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

Mimi Gross, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

Gross, too, was a familiar presence in town, Robert Hatch wrote in a 1961 Horizon profile, tooling around in an old yellow Cadillac and wearing an embroidered yarmulke. This property now belongs to his daughter, the artist Miriam “Mimi” Gross (pictured). “Chaim was a voracious collector of African and Oceanic art and this work surrounded Mimi from her earliest childhood, permeating every corner of her aesthetic unconscious,” Charles Bernstein wrote. In Provincetown, “she found herself amidst the Abstract Expressionist painters surrounding Hans Hofmann’s legendary school.” Mimi was married to Red Grooms, with whom she collaborated on Ruckus Manhattan and other marvelous environmental works.

60 West Franklin Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

60 West Franklin Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).


More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s