The ultimate blank canvas: £6.75m house in London's Mayfair a 'live-in art gallery'

Property was owned by Doris Lockhart Saatchi, the ex-wife of the famed art collector and dealer, who is said to have inspired his interest in modern art

This property in Hay’s Mews, Mayfair, is on the market for £6.75 million. Photo: Wetherell / Casa E Progetti
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A minimalist mews house in Mayfair that was once adorned with millions of pounds worth of modern art, but is now the ultimate blank canvas, is on the market for £6.75 million ($8.6 million).

The white two to three-bedroom property in Hay’s Mews, London, was originally renovated for notable art collector Doris Lockhart Saatchi, the first wife of Charles Saatchi. She sold it to US art collector and finance executive Ralph Goldenberg about 24 years ago.

Both owners used the mews house, redesigned by minimalist architect John Pawson, as their home and private art gallery.

Mr Goldenberg, who died in 2022, bought the 2,845-square-foot white stucco property in 2000 after moving from Chicago to London to lead the global expansion of Goldenberg, Hehmeyer & Co.

He displayed works there by dozens of artists, including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. The collection of around 80 works is estimated to be worth more than $13 million and will be sold at auction by Sotheby’s in June.

Peter Wetherell, founder and executive chairman of Wetherell, which is handling the sale, said the property looks “identical” to when he sold it to Mr Goldenberg for Ms Saatchi.

“It was pretty much identical, except the art was different. But it was still modern art,” Mr Wetherell told The National.

“If we could do a hat trick [and sell it to a third art collector] it would be fantastic.”

Mr Wetherell said it was Ms Saatchi who got her ex-husband interested in modern art.

“When they divorced, she took this mews house, ripped it all apart and reinvented it with the help of John Pawson,” he said. “Really, the word museum is not right, but it’s an art gallery. It’s a live-in art gallery.”

It is also a rare example of a Pawson house, according to Mr Wetherell. He describes the property as a “masterpiece of minimalist architecture” that is one of less than half a dozen private homes that the architect has designed around the world.

“There is truly no other artistic residence like this in Mayfair, and it has served as both a home and private art museum for two prominent patrons of contemporary art, Doris Lockhart Saatchi and Ralph I Goldenberg,” said Mr Wetherell.

“We believe it will appeal to other art patrons who want a home which has been specially designed to display art collections including large art installations.”

The house features two spacious reception rooms, a custom-designed Pawson kitchen with a built-in stainless steel central island, and a study.

Spanning the entire width of the house, the first reception room functions as a living/gallery space, with a neighbouring guest cloakroom/WC and a study that could also be used as a third bedroom.

The principal and guest bedroom suites are found on the second floor, both of which have en suite bathrooms.

The property features many Pawson-designed items that are now sought-after design classics, including a contemporary handle-free front door, font-like white marble Pawson Saatchi basins in the bathrooms and banks of white folding cupboards designed to keep spaces and surfaces clutter-free.

It also has an internal garage, ground-floor patio garden and a nine-metre rooftop terrace garden.

Mr Goldenberg’s daughter, Jane Goldenberg, who is the executor of his estate, said: “For my father Ralph I Goldenberg there was a perfect symbiotic relationship between the Pawson house, an iconic piece of minimalist architecture, and his art collection.

“As a collector, he was increasingly drawn to minimalist works of art, and the Pawson house served as the perfect showcase for his vision. Hopefully the next owner will serve as the privileged custodian of this important example of Mayfair’s contemporary architectural heritage.”

Mayfair has been tipped to become the world’s most expensive address, with prices hitting a record £15,000 per square foot.

Values are currently about £10,000 per square foot in Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square, figures only rivalled by Knightsbridge.

Updated: May 30, 2024, 10:39 AM