Realist Painter Philip Pearlstein Leaving Longtime UWS Townhouse for $3.4 M.

6346670988329525008740354 3 arts 20120306 pm 088 Realist Painter Philip Pearlstein Leaving Longtime UWS Townhouse for $3.4 M.

Looking for a change of scene: Mr. Pearlstein and Ms. Cantor have sold their house. (Patrick McMullen)

When painter Philip Pearlstein moved to Manhattan in 1949, he and his college pal Andy Warhol subletted an dingy eighth-floor walk-up on St. Marks Place and Avenue A.

“The bathtub was in the kitchen and it was usually full of roaches, incredible roaches,” Mr. Pearlstein once said of the apartment. Nor did their lot improve when they relocated to a West 23rd Street loft a few months later. Andy Warhol was said to have sent out address-change cards in glitter-filled envelopes announcing, “I’ve moved from one roach-ridden apartment to another.”

pearlstein Realist Painter Philip Pearlstein Leaving Longtime UWS Townhouse for $3.4 M.

They couple enjoyed painting canvasses. Not the walls.

Over the years, the living conditions of both artists changed radically as their careers took off, with Warhol landing in an Upper East Side townhouse and Mr. Pearlstein settling in an Upper West Side one with his wife, artist Dorothy Cantor.

But now Mr. Pearlstein is moving on, hopefully to yet more pest-free quarters, having just sold his brownstone for $3.4 million, according to city records. The buyers are Alan and Alexandra Murray.

The four-story house at 165 West 88th Street came on the market 11 months ago and went into contract May, when it was asking $3.995 million. Photos on Streeteasy show an abundance of white walls and hardwood floors—just the kind of stark place we might imagine for a man known for dispassionate paintings of nudes described by some as possessing a clinical clarity. The light, of course, is wonderful.

Mr. Pearlstein appears to have purchased the house in 1976, although city records do not list an address for a deed that was transferred to his name that year. When The Observer called him at his studio on West 36th Street, we were told that he was painting at the moment and could not come to the phone.

kvelsey@observer.com