Neo-Gothic Château in Upper Normandy, France 
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Luxury Through the Eras: Architecture of the Impressionist Period

Inspired by the Cezanne and Seurat paintings headlining “the sale of this century”— Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection—at Christie’s this November, we spotlight a collection of homes built during the height of the Impressionist movement

Beginning in 1874 in Paris and led by seminal artists Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cèzanne, and Edgar Degas, Impressionism focused on the reality of light, shadow, pure color, and form—and its perception in the mind. 

The movement spread across the cultural landscape, from art to classical music, while the architecture of the day underwent its own dramatic revivals and experiments.  

Herewith, Luxury Defined highlights seven exemplars of late 19th-century architecture that heralded the transition to modernism and brought forth the Impressionists. Timeless in their grandeur and repose, these homes mark the end of the old epoch—and the coming of the new.  

Neo-Gothic Château in Upper Normandy, France 

Neo-Gothic Château in Upper Normandy, FranceNeo-Gothic Château in Upper Normandy, FranceNeo-Gothic Château in Upper Normandy, France

This magnificent Neo-Gothic château is surrounded by more than 66 acres of beautiful private parkland, woodland, and farmland in the heart of the Epte Valley of Upper Normandy, just 45 miles from Paris. The residence was built in 1870 by a student of French Gothic Revival architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. 

The owners have preserved the architectural integrity of the château. Its ornate façade encloses 8,181 square feet with 30 grandly appointed rooms. Interior finishes include coffered ceilings, wood and mosaic-tiled floors, decorative stonework, and monumental carved-wood doors. 

Also beautifully preserved are the château’s outbuildings and glorious gardens, graced with verdant lawns and majestic centennial trees.  

Contemporary updates include a swimming pool, pool house, and tennis court. Several outbuildings offer additional living space for guests or extended family. 

Merlo Castle in Merlovägen, Vaesternorrland, Sweden  

Castle in Merlo Castle in Merlovägen, Vaesternorrland, Sweden Castle in Merlo Castle in Merlovägen, Vaesternorrland, Sweden Castle in Merlo Castle in Merlovägen, Vaesternorrland, Sweden  

This magnificent castle in Merlovägen graces is a jewel on the undulating landscape of northern Sweden. Merlo Castle was built in 1883 as the summer residence for timber magnate Fredrik Bünsow, son of the 19th-century German painter Friedrich Bünsow.  

The vision of architects Isak Gustaf Clason and Fritz Eckert, the design is reminiscent of a German knight’s castle, built as a remembrance of Bünsow’s country of birth. It is unusual for its place and time, with an asymmetrical façade of yellow brick with red ornamentation and storybook keep and turret.  

Encompassing more than 12,000 square feet, the floor plan has remained largely intact, bar the remodeling of the flower room and the addition of several bedrooms and an office.

The reception rooms are beautifully maintained; the floors, crafted from stone, marble, parquet, and timber, are complemented by ornate wooden doors, wall panels, and ceiling frescoes.  

The castle is set within a meticulously tended English park with wide, gravel paths; terraces; flower gardens; and specimen trees. The wider grounds extend to more than 17 acres and include several outbuildings, a staff/guest cottage, orchard, and farmland. Adding to the charm is a 19th-century henhouse with ornamental red-brick façade and slatted windows.  

Californie Villa in Cannes, France 

Californie Villa in Cannes, FranceCalifornie Villa in Cannes, France

This majestic Belle Époque villa is in a private enclave of Cannes, near the promenade of Boulevard de la Croisette. The multi-level residence, with views of the Bay of Cannes, underwent a sensitive restoration, retaining all its 19th-century details and finishes, with the addition of 21st-century amenities. 

The 8,000-square-foot interior features elegant reception rooms, a contemporary kitchen, and seven light-filled bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and one half-bathroom, all with soothing neutral paint schemes and contemporary fixtures. 

A bilevel terrace offers a wide stone staircase down to a sun worshiper’s pool deck, with a spa and a swimming pool. Beyond are nearly an acre of wooded grounds and private gardens framing the seascape. 

Het Klooster in Zoelmond, Gelderland, Netherlands 

Mansion in the NetherlandsMansion in the NetherlandsMansion in the Netherlands

Het Klooster is a grand manor house in the ancient village of Zoelmond in the heart of rural Betuwe, but just 20 minutes from Utrecht. Built circa 1870, Het Klooster is listed on the Dutch National Register of Monuments and Historic Buildings. Its formal façade conceals large, light-filled rooms appointed for comfortable contemporary living. 

The ground floor offers a living room, dining room, a library/study, the country-styled kitchen, a magnificent conservatory, and stairs to the basement. The ornamental staircase rises to the second floor accommodations, comprising five bedrooms and a large family bathroom. The third floor is a huge attic space with exposed roof beams.  

Pride of place, however, goes to the rear gardens. This 2.5-acre sanctuary is divided by high beech hedges into separate garden “rooms,” including extensive lawns, mysterious hideaways, a vegetable patch, and an orchard—with cherry, apple, pear, and plum, almond, and walnut trees, and berry bushes in all shapes and sizes.

A giant weeping beech hides a swing and a children’s treehouse. The current owners note that the garden has been growing organic produce for 40 years—pesticide free. 

The former coach house was converted into a guest house with a private terrace, a kitchen, a living room with a fireplace, an en suite bedroom, and a sauna and gym on the upper floor.

Out of sight from the house, at the edge of the grounds, are a traditionally built wooden barn, ancillary buildings and wood stores, and a second entrance to the estate.  

Italianate-Style Château in Bordeaux, France 

Italianate-Style Château in Bordeaux, France 
This magisterial, light-filled 19th-century château in the heart of Bordeaux countryside offers great rooms for living, dining, and the display of fine art. 

This stately 10-acre estate near the center of Bordeaux has vineyards on three sides. Its centerpiece is an Italianate château, built in the late 19th century and restored for the 21st. The magnificent limestone and brick façade opens to 18 beautifully appointed, light-infused rooms.  

The grand foyer has a stone floor and sweeping stone staircase with a decorative wrought-iron bannister. The reception rooms have parquet floors and high ceilings, oversized windows, and French doors overlooking the grounds.  

There are 10 en suite bedrooms, several with dressing rooms and private terraces. Further appointments include a catering kitchen, offices, a library, wine cellar with tasting area, and two staff bedrooms.   

Completing the picture are secluded, parklike grounds with a swimming pool and pool house. 

Westridge in Bar Harbor, Maine 

Shingle-style cottage in Maine

Westbridge, one of Bar Harbor’s venerable Shingle Style cottages, was built in 1887 on 1.48 waterfront acres. The year-round residence offers a stately front entrance, protected by a porte cochère, and welcoming foyer with sweeping main stairway and warming fireplace (one of eight in the residence).  

A formal library, living room, dining room, kitchen and large sunroom are all on the first floor, as is a small in-law apartment. There are nine bedrooms and seven-and-a-half bathrooms. A detached two-car garage also includes a year-round apartment. 

Extensive gardens surround the home with annual and perennial plantings. An adjoining meadow provides fruit-bearing trees, privacy, and seasonal color.  

Views from the property include the harbor, Frenchman Bay, and Bar Island. While private and barely visible from the street, Westbridge is a block from the vibrant seaside village of Bar Harbor, the gateway to Acadia National Park. 

Ballymore Lodge in County Cork, Ireland  

Victorian manor in County Cork, Ireland Victorian manor in County Cork, Ireland Victorian manor in County Cork, Ireland 

Ballymore Lodge is a fine Victorian house, built circa 1870, on 10 wooded acres of Great Island in County Cork, fronting Cork Harbour with access to Cuskinny.  

The two-story residence retains its excellent period details, with sash windows framed by timber shutters and high, beamed ceilings which impart a sense of space and light.  

The elegantly proportioned living spaces extend to more than 3,000 square feet. On the first level, the drawing room, sitting room, and open-plan kitchen/dining room all have water views. 

Upstairs, the private quarters include a luxurious principal bedroom and en suite bathroom, four additional bedrooms, (three with sea views), a family bathroom, and powder room.  

The grounds include a boathouse, a glass house, along with numerous detached stone outbuildings which can be used for stables, wood stores, and potting sheds.

Bounded by mature trees and shrubbery, the setting is an oasis of calm with a walled garden, pastures, woodland walks, and 870 feet of shoreline with far-reaching views across Cork Harbour to Roches Point and the Atlantic Ocean.