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.