441 Commercial Street

Former Studio Shop

Imagine it lemon yellow, with an orange palette logo designed by Jim Forsberg (1919-1991). Now imagine customers like Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann. This was the Studio Shop, established in 1955 by Laura Easley and later run by Forsberg, and it was where Provincetown artists found the supplies they needed. “Thanks to Forsberg’s thriftiness, the shop had a look all of its own,” Peter Manso wrote in Ptown (2002), “with shelves made out of old, warped stretchers and woodwork in a variety of colors as the painter-owner used up unsold tubes of paint. There was an amazing inventory for such a small store, and Forsberg would extend credit to artists who couldn’t pay. Everybody went to the Studio Shop.”

Manso quoted Ciro — Ciriaco Cozzi — at length on the subject of the store:

Hans Hofmann would never buy a tube at a time. He’d buy a whole carton. Motherwell was a big spender, too. … I used to get pissed off at painters who would come into town and then complain they could get supplies cheaper in New York. Jim would really get turned off by that, and he’d say, ‘Well, goddammit, go to New York. I have to import this stuff. I’m not a big buyer, I’ve got a small place.’ Motherwell used to get furious when he heard people complain. ‘My God,’ he’d say, ‘you’ve got a gallery and a shop that provides everything you need, and you complain?’

The store lasted into the early 1990s.




2 thoughts on “441 Commercial Street

  1. After opening the Artist-Loft, Provincetown’s current art supply store, in 2013 at 135 Bradford Street, the original home of the Fine Arts Work Center, I was told I had big shoes to fill, those of Jim Forsberg.

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