High-end real estate and art purchases often go hand in hand. One property on the Gold Coast of Long Island is seeing interest from buyers as more than just a home — to some, it’s the ultimate art collection.
The structure, on 6.5 acres in Old Westbury, was designed by Delano & Aldrich in 1912 as a studio for Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, one of America’s first female sculptors and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Part of a thousand-acre estate that has been sold off piece by piece over the years, the studio recently came on the market for the first time since it was built, for $4.75 million.
Converted into a home by Whitney’s granddaughter in 1982 and now owned by her great-grandson, it’s filled with murals and fixtures by acclaimed artists.
Two rooms, one of the five bedrooms and one of the five full bathrooms, are wrapped in murals from Robert Winthrop Chanler, a member of the Astor and Dudley–Winthrop families whose work was featured in the 1913 Armory Show in New York City.
The home also features a bedroom with murals by Charles Baskerville and an entryway with a stone mosaic floor from artist and interior designer Paul Chalfin.
“The feedback I’m getting from buyers, they’re almost more collectors than they are people looking for a home,” said listing agent Paul Mateyunas of Douglas Elliman. “If you took the pieces of this house apart, most of it would end up in a museum.”
Mateyunas believes that some of the bronze door hardware, which was hand picked by William Adams Delano, may have been created by Samuel Yellin, an American master blacksmith and metal designer.
There are also some unique artist connections. A tufted sofa in the living room has a match that once belonged to Andy Warhol. According to Mateyunas, the artist was visiting the studio and admired it, trading the sofa for a portrait.
One original piece that doesn’t come with the home is a mural decorating a spiral staircase, created by artist Howard Cushing. They were moved by Cushing’s family, though they were replaced with a copy.
Whitney’s sculptures decorate the gardens on the property, allowing for more opportunity for the property to become like a museum.
“If someone appreciates that there may be the opportunity for them to be incorporated,” Mateyunas says.