A historic three-acre estate once owned by Baroness Hilla Rebay von Ehrenwiessen with ties to some of the most influential artists and collectors of all time is now available through Gabrielle DiBianco and Susan Leone of Higgins Group.
77 Morningside Drive South, Westport, CT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ALAN BARRY
Franton Court, the three-acre estate surrounded by seven acres of natural preserve, features a unique provenance with only seven owners during its 149- year history. The three-story Italianate-style manor was initially built in 1859 for Walter Sherwood, a successful farmer. Perhaps, the most notable owner was Baroness Hilla Rebay von Ehrenwiessen.
Born into a modest aristocratic family in imperial Germany, Baroness Hilla Rebay von Ehrenwiessen (1890- 1967) was considered artistically gifted at an early age and an extraordinary portrait painter. In 1908, she began formal studies throughout Europe and within two years landed in Munich to study at the progressive DebschitzSchule, where a decade before Bauhaus, students were not segregated by gender, and fine and graphic arts intermingled in its curriculum. Perhaps this is where her love for modern art began. Rebay continued to travel the world and mingle with some of today’s most influential artists of all time, from Frank Marc to Vasily Kandinsky to Rudolf Bauer. By 1927, Rebay moved to the United States. Her association and patronage of Bauer led her to a partnership with Solomon Guggenheim, leading to a lifelong personal and professional relationship. Rebay traveled the world with Guggenheim and his wife, mingling with Marc Chagall and Paul Klee, to name a few. They amassed a great collection of art that later adorned the Guggenheim’s Suite at the famed Plaza Hotel in NYC. It is even rumored that the baroness was influential in selecting Frank Llyod Wright (who called Rebay “Superwoman”) to design the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a modern-art iconic museum with an architecturally significant spiral rotunda (a true visionary, way ahead of his time).
During this time, Rebay lived in a one-bedroom studio in Carnegie Hall and decided it was time for an upgrade, in which she headed to Westport, Connecticut, to purchase fourteen acres in the section known as Green Farms. The property consisted of a reasonably simple 1870 Victorian-style farmhouse, a large barn, and some outbuildings. Rebay named the estate Franton Court, an amalgam of her late parents’ names, Franz and Toni. Gradually she restored the old farm into a remarkable estate furnished with the latest 1930s designs and adorned with artwork enviable to any museum today. In fact, most of the home walls were filled with Bauers. However, the music room is where she displayed the Chagall, Delaunay, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Seurat, and her favorite Calder mobile. Young architect, William Muschenheim, converted the barn into an enormous studio where she offered the space to visiting artists (Chagall, Kandinsky, Leger, and even Frank Llyod Wright, to name a few.)
Today, the Italianate manor sits on 3-acres next to 7-acre nature and wildlife sanctuary. The extensively renovated 7,135-square-foot, 8-bedroom, 8-bath, and 2-partial baths are still divine. Light reflects and shimmers throughout each uniquely designed room with its dramatic flair. Architectural details include 10-foot ceilings and nine fireplaces. Furthering the splendor are a family room, library, foyer, formal dining room, and a primary suite with a fireplace and a balcony overlooking the grounds.
On the property is an entertainment barn with open space, soaring ceilings, and a full bar, ideal for hosting galas and soirees. And for those overnight guests, a two-bedroom guesthouse. Outdoors the immaculately kept grounds feature a pool and a professional tennis court. Downtown or the beach is merely minutes away with less than an hour commute to Manhattan.
“This elegant stone manor, complete with period architecture and beautiful grounds, presents a rare opportunity to own one of the finest homes in Westport, a lovely town close to the beaches of Long Island Sound and within commuter distance to Manhattan,” says Rick Higgins, Chairman, and Founder of The Higgins Group, a residential real estate brokerage located throughout Fairfield County.
77 Morningside Drive South, Westport, CT 06880 is offered at $4,995,000.
To schedule a private showing or for more details, please contact:
The Higgins Group
T: +1 203 895 6724
The Higgins Group
T: +1 203 209 2075