art and design 2017

Inside a Home for Two Artists, Constantly Remade Over 40 Years

The living room with a view into the TV room. Photo: Eric Boman

Peter Schlesinger and Eric Boman met in London in 1969. Though the artists (Schlesinger was painting at the time, Boman illustrating — they’ve since morphed into a sculptor and a photographer, respectively, but not exclusively) were at the center of a dazzling world that included Manolo Blahnik, Celia Birtwell, and Tina Chow, they felt that London was generally dreary back then and New York was not. So the couple packed up their studios and their photo albums and moved here in 1978. They bought a 4,000-square-foot loft in the Flatiron District, which was pretty deserted at the time, but it was also around the corner from Max’s Kansas City. Andy Warhol told them they had to take taxis home — otherwise, he said, they were certain to be killed.

Forty years later, their block is filled with high-end furniture shops and juice bars, but they are still living and working beneath the loft’s high ceilings, which they’ve always painted the same color as the walls. (The walls, it should be pointed out, have been many colors over the years, including a color that Schlesinger calls “pink” but Boman insists was “terra cotta,” inspired by a trip to Rome. Whatever it was, they agreed that it didn’t work. They went to Janovic separately and returned with identical chips of this Benjamin Moore grayish green.) The space, which they divided up back in ’78, includes studios for both, with separate entrances (“Eric thinks it’s much more professional that way,” Schlesinger says); a generously scaled, multi­purpose, perfectly square living area; and a cozy television nook, a kitchen, and a master bedroom. The rooms are all filled with their own art as well as work by friends, and the furniture and objects from Dunbar, Fornasetti, and Tommi Parzinger were mostly found in their neighborhood back when it was full of flea markets and junk shops — much of it still bears the nicks and bumps that show its age. “Peter doesn’t believe in restoration,” Boman explains. He’s a much bigger believer in history.

*This article appears in the April 17, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.

Photo: Eric Boman

The Living Room With a View Into the TV Room

The chest, from a junk shop, apparently belonged to Zsa Zsa Gabor. Schlesinger painted the red still life, and Boman took the photograph that hangs above the doors. They bought the sofa on the left for $40 in the ’70s from a shop called Milton’s Store, and it was refinished with Italian mossbraid.

Photo: Eric Boman

The Living Room

The opposite side of the living room features a painting by Schlesinger of the couple’s garden in Bellport.

Photo: Eric Boman

The Bedroom

The four-poster bed is from the Greenwich Auction Room. The painting to the left is Schlesinger as a child. Beneath it is a Degas etching that was a gift from his childhood doctor.

Photo: Eric Boman

The Office Area

The lion painting and large vessel below are both by Schlesinger. The chairs are by Bruno Mathsson, and the desk is from the erstwhile Greenwich Auction Room.

Photo: Eric Boman

The Entrance Hall

They painted the hallway “vermilion” and found these typeface prints in an old portfolio of Schlesinger’s that they stuck in ready-made frames from A.I. Friedman.

Photo: Eric Boman

Schlesinger’s Studio

“I like the physicality of it,” Schlesinger says of his shift from painting to sculpture. The studio isn’t equipped for a large-scale kiln, so he brings pieces to his studio in Long Island.

Photo: Eric Boman

The Dining Area

The chest is from Dunbar, and the painting above it was originally Boman’s grandparents’ — Boman spent hours staring at it while recuperating from rubella as a child.

Photo: Eric Boman

The Dining Room

About 15 years ago, the couple saw the chandelier hanging in a very dusty window of an antique shop on East 12th Street. “We don’t know anything about it, but it has enough features to make us think it is a one-off by Tommi Parzinger,” Boman says.

Inside Two Artists’ Home, Constantly Remade Over 40 Years