RSVIP: Warhol Muse Sachiko Goodman Opens Her Greenwich Estate to Bruce Museum Patrons
In bucolic Greenwich, Connecticut, attractive women, meticulously restored estates, and top wines miraculously improve with age.
Japanese-born beauty Sachiko Goodman, the legendary real estate agent, and her husband, Lawrence, a retired businessman and philanthropist, opened Hickory Hill, their storied estate in the Belle Haven section of Greenwich, Connecticut, for the Annual Bruce Museum Patron Party on Thursday, May 20. The event toasted the Renaissance ball benefiting the Bruce Museum, which takes place on June 5 this year and is generally considered a centerpiece of the Greenwich social swim.
On a pillared terrace, an exacting chef assisted by a woman in traditional Japanese dress fills boats with fresh sushi. Past the kitchen and down a thin, modernist corridor, in an open white space, hang multiple Warhol images of Sachiko Goodman. "They were my birthday present when I was 30 years old," says Mrs. Goodman, wearing a white Givenchy safari dress and appearing equally as fresh as in the renderings on the wall. "But I was never pleased with the way my face looked, so I never really wanted to display them until just recently."
Goodman describes her dear, now late friend, Andy Warhol, who would become so very famous. "I just loved him as a person," she says. "He was a very shy guy, a little weird but very nice. He was very good to my daughter. Every time he visited me, in this house or my previous home in Greenwich, he always brought sweet gifts."
And did Warhol take Polaroid images of her to create the portraits? "I have hundreds of them," answers Goodman. "I keep them in an album. Now that I'm older, possibly more mature, I appreciate that I'm very, very lucky to have these things."
The pop colors of a sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle are contained in a Plexiglas box on top of a baby grand. A large sculpture by Bottero anchors the center hall. Other standout pieces include a Diego Giacometti of an ostrich, L' Autruche, that employs an ostrich egg as the body. And the pegbox of an actual violin is embedded in a three dimensional piece by George Segal on a nearby wall. Splotches of bright color on paper by Sam Francis decorate this room and a far hall. And placed on shelves, just so, are ceramics by Picasso.
Peter C. Sutton, director of the Bruce museum, (shown with Sachiko Goodman above right) hints at the embarrassment of art riches in preppy Greenwich. "It has the highest concentration of collectors of any burb of 60,000 inhabitants on the globe," he says. "Here in Belle Haven, just in this neighborhood, there are unbelievable treasures. We have a Warhol print show opening this weekend. We create shows from local collections all the time, from the Renaissance to the present. We're doing a Cindy Sherman show in January, and almost all the pieces are drawn from Greenwich."
During speeches, the indefatigable Mrs. Goodman offers to match funds raised that night in a silent auction of vintage wines generously donated by The Wine Trust, an investment group focusing on wine. "People don't realize wine is generally a very stable investment, 11, 12, 15 percent per year," says Brian Mota Co-Managing partner of The Wine Trust of Ridgefield, Connecticut. "We treat our wines like a private equity fund. On offer at the Goodmans' during the silent auction to benefit the Bruce Museum: first-growth wines, including a Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1990.
As one might expect, the trust has held on to some particularly choice reserves. "Back to the 1970s," says Mota. "We have multiple cases of a wine called Pétrus, which, by most accounts, is one of the world's most exclusive." Buyers beware: America is currently enduring an epidemic of forged wines, particularly from Bordeaux. The impeccable provenance of single-owner Wine Trust offerings makes them far more valuable. Ballpark worth of the Chateau Pétrus: "It would likely sell for $10,000 to $15,000 per bottle," Mota suggests.