The visual artist Jim Sperber has worked as a house painter, a substitute teacher and in the role of “tempter” on Fox’s reality show Temptation Island. He has designed a taxi-themed board game, composed a work of abstract autobiography and of late his layered drip canvases have shown at the New Museum, Art in General and The Lehman Art Gallery, among others.
But to pass muster with the co-op board at 161 West 75th Street—where Mr. Sperber and his wife Corey Hajim just bought an apartment for $6 million, according to city records—we imagine that he had to assure members that his work would cause no permanent harm to the building.
The unit, which was last listed for $6.25 million by Deanna Kory and Ileana Lopez-Balboa at Corcoran, is an impeccably-updated four-bedroom duplex in a 1924 Rosario Candela building. Boasting a gleaming chef’s kitchen, custom millwork, a marble fireplace in the master suite and a rainforest steam room, the space offers both new and old-world charms. There are hardwood floors, custom shelves and plenty of clean white walls for purposes of display and storage. If wall space proves insufficient, however, to hold Mr. Sperber’s works, the co-op also contains a pair of staff rooms, and walk-in dressing quarters. Mr. Sperber and his wife, who works in investment management, are, in any event, a long way from the diminutive sixth-floor walk-up that once served as the painter’s home, gallery and studio.
The sellers, James and Ann Lansing, also have interests that run toward both art and commerce. Mr. Lansing is a managing director at J.P. Morgan, while his wife, a fashion designer, runs a company manufacturing hand-crafted belts and buckles. The Lansings, who bought a home in Greenwich, Connecticut over the summer, seem to be interested in devoting more time to country living. Artisans of leather, after all, have a long track record in rural environs. But there is still nothing like good old-fashioned urban alienation to inspire modern painting—even if that alienation is tempered, somewhat, by a very cushy nest.