Inspiring Artist Studios

The interior of an artist’s studio reveals an intimate glimpse into the creative process and can prove almost as beautiful as the work that’s created inside it.

Northern light is the best for painting. In Paul Cézanne’s hilltop studio, Les Lauves in Aix-en-Provence, a gigantic north-facing window frames a view of fig and olive trees. Cézanne bought the property because it had the panoramic view of Mont Sainte-Victoire, a favourite subject of his works.

An array of pottery vessels displayed on a high shelf stand ready to be worked into Cézanne’s still-life oeuvres. He lived 15 minutes away from his studio and was disciplined about making the uphill walk every morning to start painting at 6 a.m.

A well-worn sofa with slumped cushions is the centre of Claude Monet’s huge Nympheas Studio in Giverny, France, all the best to contemplate the watery masterpieces depicting his lily pond that wrap all four walls of the room. Monet built this studio in the corner of his famous garden once he became successful — the pond and Japanese bridge were the subjects of some of his most popular paintings.

Here is Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in her Casa Azul studio, the childhood home built by her father in 1907. When Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera bought the house, they applied stucco to the French neoclassic design and filled it with Mexican artifacts and figurines.

Pablo Picasso gutted the salon of his Art Nouveau villa in Vallauris, France and turned it into a studio, where he hosted Brigitte Bardot in 1956. The villa was beside a yard where potters threw discarded metal and broken shards, and Picasso sifted through the debris to make this sculpture of a bronze goat.

The floor of Jackson Pollock’s East Hampton studio tells the tale of an exuberant technique. Peggy Guggenheim loaned Pollack and his wife, artist Lee Krasner, $2,000 for the down payment on this home in exchange for artwork. Pollack used the barn as his studio, but the original oak floor suffered damage by powder post beetles. To save money, Pollack covered the floor with Masonite from a children’s board game in 1953.

Abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning was a houseguest of Jackson Pollack, and decided to build his own East Hampton art studio in a wooded area not far away because the light reminded him of his native Holland. De Kooning designed the butterfly ceiling himself with found steel girders. His house was attached to the studio; an adjoining loft space let him view his lithographs in his studio from above.

His mobiles are precise and spare, but acclaimed American sculptor Alexander Calder took an eclectic approach to storing his materials in his Roxbury, Connecticut studio. He painted his old farmhouse flat black and his sculptures were scattered across the property.

Neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat was known to paint walls, refrigerators, clothes, anything he could get his hands on. A raw industrial loft studio in Manhattan, once owned by Andy Warhol, is the perfect backdrop for his graffiti-like works.

See more raw spaces in our Industrial-Chic Interiors photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. Best Travel Store
2. Atelier Cézanne
4. Pick Pocket Design blog
5. The Guardian, photography by Jérôme Brièrre/Getty Images
6. Pollack Krasner House & Study Center
7. Architectural Digest, photography by Jaime Ardiles-Arce
8. Mondo Blogo blog, photography by Pedro Guerrero
9. Art Nectar

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