Built around 1920 in the Colonial Revival style as a Ford Motor Company garage, 200 Commercial Street is a landmark in the development of the town’s art scene after World War II. In 1949, Weldon Kees, a painter, poet, art critic, jazz musician, playwright and filmmaker, organized Forum 49, an avant-garde series of talks and displays. One of the first programs centered on the question “What is an artist?”
In July 1949, 700 people came to this building, then designated Gallery 200, to hear Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Serge Chermayeff, and George Biddle try to answer the question. Only 200 got in. Among the artists whose works were displayed as part of this showcase were Hofmann, “the reigning master,” whose two new canvases “drew raves.” Elaine de Kooning thought Jackson Pollock’s two spattered paintings were “the most striking.” Also being shown were the works of Byron Browne, Fritz Bultman, Oliver Chaffee, Perle Fine, Gottlieb, Karl Knaths, Robert Motherwell, Ambrose Webster, Agnes Weinrich and others.
Among later tenants were The Provincetown Advocate, the Provincetown Printery, Toys of Eros and Don’t Panic!, a T-shirt store. The property has been owned since 1985 by Dimitri Kavoura.