Herrick House and the Granary Art Gallery— former estate of art patron, philanthropist and noted collector Melva Bucksbaum — offered for US$14,995,000
Property includes a 14,000-square-foot stone-and-wood structure known as "the Granary,” Ms. Bucksbaum’s private art gallery built to museum specifications
New York, New York (June 26, 2020) — Christie’s International Real Estate is honored to represent Herrick House and the Granary Art Gallery — the former estate of Melva Bucksbaum, longtime trustee and benefactor of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Previously owned by Frank Oz, a puppeteer on The Muppets, and located on 51 bucolic acres in Sharon, Connecticut, the main residence built in the 1920s was completely modernized by Ms. Bucksbaum when she bought the property in 2005. Her intent, masterfully executed, was to complement her collection of contemporary art while retaining the home’s historic charm.
In addition to the main residence of 9,000 square feet — with three bedrooms, six full baths and one half bath — the estate includes six additional buildings all linked by flagstone paths, gravel driveways and pristine lawns. The property’s standout structure is “the Granary,” Ms. Bucksbuam’s private and museum-quality on-site art gallery and fine art storage facility, completed in 2009.
Herrick House and the Granary Art Gallery, named for its original owners and the quiet country lane on which it is located, is being offered by Shaylene Neumann of Neumann Real Estate for US$14,995,000, with global marketing services provided by Christie’s International Real Estate. This is a reduction from when the home was last listed one year ago at US$20,000,000.
The Granary Art Gallery projects a modern aesthetic while seamlessly integrating into its natural surroundings. With exteriors of locally sourced wood and stone, the structure spans 14,000 square feet and is notable for its museum-quality humidity control systems, waterless fire-suppression systems, expansive security and automatic-timed shades. The double-height main exhibition space is flooded with natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights. A flagstone courtyard, dedicated kitchen and powder room have facilitated countless private exhibitions, openings and events.
Upstairs from the entry gallery are two smaller exhibition spaces. Completing the Granary is an oversized glass and stainless-steel art transport elevator capable of accommodating large scale works of art, and an impressive fine art storage facility with 82 storage racks for hanging paintings and storage cubes for flat art on the lower level.
Kathleen Coumou, Executive Director of Christie’s International Real Estate, said of this magnificent property, “Melva Bucksbaum’s keen artistic eye informs every detail of this estate. For the global art collector, how wonderful to have your treasures not only in the home but also in a brilliant and dedicated gallery space right out your front door. At its new price, the property presents a unique value proposition for the discerning buyer.”
Prior to the sale of Herrick House and the Granary Art Gallery, Christie’s auctioned pieces from Ms. Bucksbaum’s collection over the course of a year in a wide range of venues, including the prestigious Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening sale in 2017. An additional dedicated online sale offered works by emerging artists that Ms. Bucksbaum ardently supported throughout her life. The Bucksbaum family has also endowed a biennial award since 1996, granting US$100,000 to a deserving artist.
The estate, anchored by a Colonial-style main residence, is introduced by a gated stone entry flanked by tall elms. A two-story foyer with a custom walnut staircase welcomes and flows to the sunken living areas to include a formal dining room with three exposures and a marble fireplace, the large formal entertaining room, an intimate parlor with another marble fireplace and a game room with chinoiserie fabric walls. All are appointed with French doors leading to a patio with gardens.
At the heart of the house is the chef’s kitchen with a butler’s pantry and a double-sided wood-burning fireplace shared with the family room. The main level is completed by a glass-enclosed breakfast nook and paneled library with fireplace. There is also a wine cellar and safe room, plus a two-car heated garage.
Upstairs are the private quarters. The master suite is appointed with a foyer, a fireplace, a glass-enclosed office overlooking the grounds, a porch, two dressing rooms with sensor lighting and a pampering bathroom with steam shower and soaking tub. This level also includes a second office with fireplace, a kitchenette, a media room, gym, screened-in porch and two additional bedrooms and baths.
Steps away from the main house and the Granary, is the pool house and library. Converted from a vintage barn, the lower level of this modern structure contains a two-story height sitting room with glass doors leading to a secluded outdoor gunite pool. In addition, this level provides a changing room, kitchenette and an expansive staging area with barn doors to support large-scale entertaining and events. On the second level and overlooking the pool house is the art library with a pitched ceiling and built in bookcases.
Four additional structures round out the offering: a two-bedroom guest cottage with wraparound veranda; a fully restored original log cabin dating to 1936, which has housed many artists in residence; a three-bedroom caretaker’s residence equipped with a security office; and a large garage with four double doors, radiant heat and an office on the second level.
Ms. Bucksbaum worked for five years with three distinguished designers — Steven Learner for the architecture, Barbara Hauben Ross for interior design, and Deborah Nevins for landscaping and orchard design.
Ms. Neumann said: “This is an amazing opportunity to own one of the most beautiful estates in Litchfield County. The main house is simply stunning and is perfectly set among lush gardens and mature specimen trees with several additional cottages and outbuildings for extended family or guests. The grounds have been meticulously maintained and manicured, and the Granary is an art collector’s paradise, a truly majestic country getaway.”
Sharon is the third-largest town in Connecticut by size, some 60 square miles, but one of the least densely populated. With its New England charm including covered bridges over bubbling streams and a village green with a centuries-old stone clock tower, the town is renowned for its inordinate number of celebrity residents. The playwright Arthur Miller is credited for discovering the county; drawn by its rural aesthetic so close to New York City, when he bought a home for Marilyn Monroe, his then wife. Artist Jasper Johns lives in Sharon, as do actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick. The town takes pride in treating its famous neighbors as plain folk, adding further to its appeal.
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