From her studio in Oak Park, Illinois, artist Margot McMahon sketches designs for sculptures that have been commissioned for private residential gardens. Her artistic output may be somewhat limited – she may need months and sometimes more than a year to complete a single sculpture – but McMahon takes the long view. Once installed, her pieces may be in place for generations to come. What’s more, McMahon points out, outdoor sculpture does the soul good. “When art is in a backyard, you can look from your window and it changes your life for a moment,” she notes. “It calms you down, and you can think a little more poetically.” Enjoyable in all seasons, outdoor sculpture offers owners and their guests a point of departure from which their imaginations can wander.
Whether one work serves as a focal point or 20 combine to tell a story, outdoor sculpture makes a home stand out. “It’s the first impression when you come to a property,” says Beate Moore of Sotheby’s International Realty in Bridgehampton, New York. “It sets the property apart and can ultimately influence the sales aspect as well.” Although not typically part of the deal (“People don’t throw sculptures in with the house,” Moore notes), outdoor art may be what makes a buyer fall in love with a residence.
According to Charles L. Moffett, a specialist of contemporary art at Sotheby’s New York, space naturally plays a large role in what art collectors are able to showcase. “If you have the land, you can be a bit more ambitious,” he says. In any case, Moffett adds, “whether for decoration or for the pleasure of living with art history, it is a privilege to live with beautiful outdoor art.”
Star architect David Adjaye masterminded this 7,500-square-foot contemporary retreat, which commands exquisite ocean frontage above Montauk’s bluffs. Form, light and distinctive materials combine for a compelling architectural language in this home’s six bedrooms and eight and a half baths. Near the pool stands The Ego and the Id, a large multicoloured sculpture that artist Franz West created for his 2008–09 travelling retrospective. The sculpture then spent a year at the southeastern entrance to New York’s Central Park before being installed here.
$29,500,000 Property ID: 0046937 | sir.com
Sotheby’s International Realty – East Hampton Brokerage
Rylan Jacka +1 516 702 5707
Situated on one of the most prestigious streets in Las Vegas, the Ramses Estate is a neoclassical glory constructed with meticulous attention to detail. More than five years – and the finest materials – were devoted to remodelling this palatial home. And when guests venture beyond the picturesque residence, they’ll find themselves in formal gardens that merge with expansive lawns. Both the front and back areas of the estate feature sculptures by artist Arnaldo Pomodoro.
$25,000,000 Property ID: 69JFS5 | sir.com
Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty
Kristen Routh Silberman +1 702 467 7100
Salt Lake City
This dignified home combines modern luxury with a traditional ambience. Its inviting, open floor plan includes spacious rooms that lend themselves to either small gatherings or large parties, which can easily flow from inside to outside. Along with spectacular views of the valley and mountains, the grounds offer outdoor sculptures by artist Dennis Smith, which are set along a walkway.
$7,900,000 Property ID: 84KPZG | sir.com
Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Linda Wolcott +1 801 580 3962 Susan Poulin +1 801 244 5766
First erected by Henri I de Navarre, the father of Jeanne d’Albret and grandfather of Henri IV, Château Lagrange-Monrepos sits on 75 acres of farmland, with a 22-acre walnut grove and a magnificent park. The courtyard of this elegant, stylishly renovated mansion features a contemporary fountain sculpture by artist Joseph Cals, which appears to float. Made of aluminum, the sculpture stands in bold contrast with the historic castle’s limestone facade.
€4,750,000 Property ID: 9LSPN5 | sir.com
Bordeaux Sotheby’s International Realty
Etienne Delpech and Anne-Valérie Colas +33 (0)5 56 79 63 62
Originally the summer residence of Robert Livingston Stevens (his family developed steam-powered boats and locomotives and founded the Stevens Institute of Technology), this historic 15-acre estate has been given new life thanks to the present owner’s collaboration with architect Jeffrey Beer. Their passion and patience have allowed this European-style estate to bridge centuries, taking inspiration from the past to craft an unparalleled present. For instance, a reflecting pool found in early photographs of the property was located, uncovered and restored to its original state, thus resurrecting the grounds’ original beauty.
$8,890,000 Property ID: TVRQT9 | sir.com
Kienlan Lattmann Sotheby's International Realty
Erica Levey +1 908 625 8488
New York-based writer Iyna Bort Caruso has contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Newsday, among other publications.