Sotheby's to Sell the Contents of Billionaire Patricia Kluge's Albemarle House
On June 8th and 9th, Sotheby's, on behalf of billionaire Patricia Kluge, will sell the contents of Kluge's home, Albemarle House, at auction on the grounds of the majestic estate.
Antique lovers and voyeurs alike will be able to step inside Kluge's 45-room estate in Albemarle County, Va., for a peek at what could be theirs. Those who shell out $73 for the impressive auction catalog will gain admission for two to preview the auction items on-site through June 7th.
Ms. Kluge is the former wife of mogul John Kluge, founder of Metromedia Inc., which pioneered independent TV stations operations through the 1960's and 1970's. Kluge became one of the richest Americans after he sold his company to Rupert Murdoch during the mid-1980's for nearly $2 billion. Kluge made a second fortune in telecommunications and he was also a major owner of Orion Pictures. The Kluge's divorced nearly 20 years ago.
Patricia Kluge, who is remarried, is now pursuing a life as a winemaker and philanthropist. She decided it was time to change her lifestyle. As such, she felt it was time to part with both Albemarle, the enormous estate in Charlottesville, Virginia she called home, and its contents.
"For the past three decades, building and maintaining this collection have been among my greatest joys," said Kluge, in an exclusive interview with Luxist's Carrie N. Culpepper in January. "Now, I look forward to sharing this very extraordinary collection with fellow collectors as I focus my energy on my new home, travel and expanding the business of Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard."
Gallery: The Collection of Patricia Kluge
"Albemarle House, [Kluge's] collaboration with designer David Easton, rejuvenated high-style country living in the United States in the English tradition, which had declined since the early 20th century," says Sotheby's Worldwide head of French, Continental and English furniture, Alistair Clarke.
Indeed, countless examples of high-style country living will be on the auction block in June, from the most mundane of items to the most extraordinary---albeit each and every item is gorgeous beyond belief.
For example, there's a painted cast-iron umbrella stand that dates back to the 19th century has an estimate of $800 to $1,200 while a set of eight English silver place mats by Garrard & Co. (circa 1979) have an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. For hunters, there's a collection of six wildfowl and wader guns, circa 1983, with an estimate of $330,000 to $500,000. There's a silver platter by Picasso (estimate: $30,000 to $40,000) and spectacular art, too, including a John Wootton (1686-1765) oil of John Ward, 6th Baron Ward, standing with his favorite hunter and groom (estimate: $100,000 to $150,000).
Given the impressive results of the Sotheby's auction of Ms. Kluge's world-class jewelry collection in April, it is likely that much of Kluge's art and antiques collection will likewise fetch prices that exceed the estimates.
Sotheby's sold the Kluge's jewelry during its Magnificent Jewels sale, with many pieces selling for above pre-sale estimates. For example, an impressive pair of platinum and diamond pendant ear clips, set with almost 64 carats of pear-shaped diamonds, sold for just over $1 million, including the buyer's premium (the estimate was $600,000 to $800,000). The collection well-represented Kluge's sophisticated appreciation of workmanship and her refined taste.
Gallery: Patricia Kluge's Magnificent Jewels
If you fall in love with the 23,538-square-feet home (and its eight-bedrooms and 13 baths) while touring it during the preview, you are in luck. Sotheby's International Realty has the listing for the famous home and its price was recently reduced to $48 million. The 300-acre estate was originally listed for $100 million in October 2009.