76 Commercial Street

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

Todd Westrick, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Todd Westrick, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Donard Engle, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Donard Engle, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Robert Randall Bourne, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Robert Randall Bourne, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

Doric columns, serious and sturdy, hold up a prominent pediment that marks this handsome Federal-style facade from the early 1800s. For a century or so, No. 76 was owned by the Nickerson and Freeman families. The house was purchased in 1927 by the seascape painter Frederick Judd Waugh, who constructed the cathedral-like studio on Nickerson Street, behind the main house. Waugh used beams and planks from a shipwreck, as well as enormous brackets known as ship’s knees. The studio was completed in 1928. The painter Hans Hofmann, who’d worked and taught at the Hawthorne Class Studio and Fritz Bultman’s studio, bought the Waugh studio and home in 1945. In the house, Hofmann’s wife, Miz, “created spectacular interiors using red, yellow, blue, and white paint,” according to the Walking Tour by Josephine Del Deo and George Bryant. Hofmann conducted Friday afternoon critiques that drew large crowds. He died in 1966 and is buried in Truro.

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

76 Commercial Street, by David W. Dunlap (2010).

In 1990, Donard Engle, a clergyman from Akron, Ohio, purchased the studio. He invited Todd Westrick, a landscape and architectural designer, to visit Provincetown in 1998. Captivated by what he saw, Westrick began a faithful restoration and conservation effort whose result is a space that Hofmann and Waugh would have no trouble recognizing, down to the stray paint speckles. Robert Randall Bourne, an artist and landscape gardener who is a tenant in the main house, was inspired by Hofmann’s bold palette to plant the front yard with tall sunflowers.


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.

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