A truly beautiful place, in the Hudson Valley, New York State. The building, an eclectic mix, Palladian front, French chateau style windows with a few Victorian bay windows to boot, is chock full of art. I have never seen more Tang ceramics in one place, quite remarkable. The floors are superb coloured marble, the fireplaces ornate and the views over the Hudson river outstanding. Be sure to spot the Rodin statues in the library, the Steinway in the music room with oval gallery above and portraits of the ‘greats’ liberally sprinkled around. Our guide, Vilma Lasmo, was a mine of information – personal family details as well as art expertise.
It’s a family home, with comfortable sized rooms, very welcoming and not overwhelming. You can imagine children racing around, doors to the gardens and terraces are everywhere. You can also imagine world leaders, movie stars and business leaders enjoying Kykuit’s charms, it’s unique location and fabulous art. The basement is an exhibition space for the most modern of art, Picasso tapestries, a couple of Warhol’s and pieces by Calder. The tapestries are unique, remarkable and breath taking as are the sculptures in the gardens.
These are family gardens, with tree lined avenues, terraces and quiet corners, all fitting spaces for the art, which appears around every corner in contrast to the gentle planting and lyrical trees.
There’s a golf course too, still played on by the Rockefellers today! JDR created it in his later years as a passionate golfer.
What is so charming here is the sense of continuity, generous generations who built something solid and lasting, which represents how they saw themselves and how they choose to live. I liked it hugely.
Whilst you’re there, do pop to the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, endowed by the Rockefellers with nine Chagall windows and a Matisse Rose Window. It looks like a simple wooden building and it is, with these astounding windows. I had the guide to myself – a real treat. The large ‘Good Samaritan’ window is a masterpiece beyond compare. I stood for a good ten minutes transfixed. And what’s even better is that Chagall was there at the dedication of the windows, you can see the photos.
At Kykuit, gloriously understated yet magnificent, you can almost be part of history – art, philanthropy and business combined. Visit if you can!