60 West Franklin Street

60 West Franklin Street, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

60 West Franklin Street, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

Chaim Gross, courtesy of Jonathan Sinaiko.

Chaim Gross, courtesy of Jonathan Sinaiko.

Chaim Gross's "Tourists," by Rosemary Hillard (2014).

Chaim Gross’s “Tourists,” by Rosemary Hillard (2014).

Those delightful Tourists outside the Public Library may be the town’s most beloved public sculpture. Not far behind are Dancing Mother and Dance Rhythm at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. The artist, Chaim Gross, who died in 1991, created many such beguiling works. Born in Wohlau, Germany (now Wołów, Poland), he studied at the Educational Alliance Art School in New York. In 1951, he and his wife, Renee, bought this splendid 2.7-acre hilltop property from the heirs of George Elmer Browne for $7,500. This was Browne’s “specially-designed studio,” Dorothy Gees Seckler wrote in Provincetown Painters, 1890s-1970s, where he conducted his West End School. He had studied at the Académie Julian, was a knight in the Légion d’Honneur, and was known for the “directness and dramatic emphasis” of his style, Seckler said, and for cutting a fine Bohemian figure. Browne died in 1946.

Mimi Gross, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

Mimi Gross, courtesy of Mimi Gross.

Gross, too, was a familiar presence in town, Robert Hatch wrote in a 1961 Horizon profile, tooling around in an old yellow Cadillac and wearing an embroidered yarmulke. This property now belongs to his daughter, the artist Miriam “Mimi” Gross (pictured). “Chaim was a voracious collector of African and Oceanic art and this work surrounded Mimi from her earliest childhood, permeating every corner of her aesthetic unconscious,” Charles Bernstein wrote. In Provincetown, “she found herself amidst the Abstract Expressionist painters surrounding Hans Hofmann’s legendary school.” Mimi was married to Red Grooms, with whom she collaborated on Ruckus Manhattan and other marvelous environmental works.

60 West Franklin Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).

60 West Franklin Street, by David W. Dunlap (2011).


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60 West Franklin Street

60 West Franklin Street, Provincetown (2011), by David W. Dunlap. 
Chaim Gross. Inside Provincetown. Vol. 1, No. 1. Copyright © 1966 by the Fischer Publishing Company. Courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum Collection).Those Tourists in front of the Public Library may be the town’s most beloved public sculpture. The artist, Chaim Gross (1904-1991), created all manner of beguiling works in a career that spanned seven decades — “jugglers, tumblers, dancers, mothers playing with children and other happy, lively figures.” (John T. McQuiston, “Chaim Gross, 87, Wood Sculptor Of Exuberant Human Forms, Dies,” The New York Times, 7 May 1991.) As significant a figure as he was, Gross was not the first artist on this magnificent hilltop. George Elmer Browne ran his school of art here in the early 20th century. Gross and his wife, Renee, bought the property in 1951. It still belongs to their daughter, the artist Miriam L. “Mimi” Gross (b 1940). Balance of the entry to be written. More pictures»