459 Commercial Street

Sacha Richter Studio

On the east end of the waterfront lot his father bought in 1978, the artist Daniel Richter (b 1939) built a large home and studio in 2005. His son, the painter Sacha Richter (b 1968), supervised construction and contributed a good deal to the design. It now serves as Daniel’s Provincetown home and as Sacha’s studio. Born in London, where his father was working at the time, Sacha Richter studied at the Studio Arts Center International in Florence and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Massachusetts College of Art.

“The landscape of outer Cape Cod, Mass., offers a sharp differentiation of elements — water, sky and land, and is a place that is evolving and changing under the continuing effects of dramatic natural and cultural influences,” he wrote on his Web site. “It’s a rugged environment, and the sharp seasonal differentiations offer incidences of reflection for the range of human emotive capacities.” Richter’s grandfather, Mischa Richter, who lived next door at No. 457, was an accomplished abstract painter as well as a longtime cartoonist for The New Yorker. His younger brother, also named Mischa, is a photographer whose Provincetown home is in the Harry Kemp cottage on Tasha Hill.

There is a wonderful link between Dan Richter’s time here and the artistic role for which he is best known: the hominid Moonwatcher in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the first among his shrewdness to divine how a bone may be used as a tool, following an encounter with an alien monolith. The credibility of Richter’s portrayal surely rests in part on his extensive study and work as a mime. And he was giving public demonstrations and discussions of mime in Provincetown in the summer of 1963, just two or three years before he became what Arthur C. Clarke described as the “most famous unknown actor in the world.” Richter has performed in Provincetown with the East End Players; produced, directed, shot and edited the film Alexyz (1982) in Provincetown, and has had his paintings exhibited at the Chrysler Art Museum, 356 Commercial Street, at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, 460 Commercial. His Moonwatcher’s Memoir covered the period he choreographed and starred in 2001. A new volume, The Dream Is Over, covers London in the 1960s, when he lived and worked with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

[Updated 2012-04-12]

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