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Heiress Huguette Clark’s Santa Barbara Estate to Become Museum

Her will appoints a nonprofit foundation to oversee the 24-acre Bellosguardo, which will house her collection of art, rare books and other objects

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Heiress Huguette Clark’s 24-acre estate — Bellosguardo — between East Beach and the Santa Barbara Cemetery will become a museum run by a foundation of the same name, according to her last will and testament.

Clark, who died last month just before her 105th birthday, was a private woman with no children or close family, so there has been much speculation about who would get her $400 million fortune.

She hadn’t visited Santa Barbara for decades, but the estate has been kept up as if she would arrive at any moment.

According to Holland & Knight, the law firm that filed her will in New York on Wednesday, the estate will become a permanent museum to house her collection of art, rare books, musical instruments and other exhibition-quality objects.

“The property includes a grand garden and a 21,000-square-foot mansion completed in 1933 — the original residence was torn down during the height of the Depression, in part to provide work for Santa Barbara’s unemployed laborers,” Holland & Knight said in a statement released Wednesday. “The multiwinged residence, designed by legendary Biltmore Hotel architect Reginald Johnson, has been unoccupied for more than a half-century, but Mrs. Clark insisted that the manicured grounds and interior be meticulously maintained throughout her life. The Santa Barbara estate is now estimated to be worth $100 million.”

The Bellosguardo Foundation will foster and promote the arts, a passion of Clark’s, and her art-filled New York City apartments also will be given to the foundation. One piece, a Claude Monet painting from his “Water Lilies” series, will be given to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where her father — senator and copper tycoon William Andrews Clark — donated his collection.

“In keeping with both her attachment to her Santa Barbara residence and her own background as an artist of considerable skill, it is fitting that approximately three-quarters of Mrs. Clark’s estate was designated for charitable purposes, including the establishment of a nonprofit arts foundation housed in her beloved Bellosguardo,” according to Holland & Knightt.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.




comments powered by Disqus

» on 06.23.11 @ 01:51 PM

How nice that this property is being saved and turned into a celebration of art instead of some huge hotel development project.

» on 06.23.11 @ 02:23 PM

What a wonderful gift to the community. It will be the most” sought after” place for events and fundraisers.
Thank you Hughette!

» on 06.23.11 @ 03:30 PM

Looks like we are losing $1m per year of potential property tax.
With all the non-profits and tax exempt affordable housing, who is going to pay for education and safety?

» on 06.23.11 @ 04:05 PM

Wow, you socialists can’t get your way, can you?  first, it’s “Bellosguardo should be a museum so that ALL of us can enjoy someone’s private residence after they die,” and now it’s “it should sold so we can use the property tax for public welfare and entitlements”.  We should be happy the public is getting anything out this, and chances are it will be held up in court due to accusations of impropriety anyway.

» on 06.26.11 @ 02:10 PM

SBcitizen worried about taxes for education? What about the tourist dollars and jobs the site will generate as a museum,  besides education it will provide?  Government jobs overpay, nonprofits more in line with private sector. Best to keep Clark bequest out of hands of tax and spenders.

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