When a building is as strangely proportioned as this one is, there is often a story behind it. Because we’re in Provincetown, there is often a good story behind it. That’s certainly the case at 83 Franklin Street (formerly denominated 79 Franklin), where the artists Frederic Taubes (1900-1981) and Donald Pierce (±1926-2010) built themselves an art school and studio in 1955. The school, under Pierce’s name alone, operated until 1972. But the Taubes family owned the property until 2008, when it was sold to Tina M. Trudel (b 1963) and the artist Dorothy Palanza (b 1956).
Taubes, the more renowned of the two, is the subject of an expansive Web site, The Frederic Taubes Gallery. He was born in what was then Lwów, Poland (and is today Lviv, Ukraine). Exiled from home in World War I, the family settled in Vienna. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and at the Bauhaus. In 1932, he immigrated to New York. He painted portraits of society leaders, wrote books and articles and conducted research into paint chemistry and composition, raising his popular profile as he did so.
Pierce had been one of his students. By 1955, the two men had established the Taubes-Pierce School of Art in the Lincoln Square Arcade on the West Side of Manhattan, the site on which the Juilliard School would rise. They opened their summer school on upper Franklin Street in 1955. Pierce continued the school for more than 15 years. Both he and his wife, the printmaker Roslyn Stern, used this building as a studio. • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Posted 2012-12-31