In the early 1950s, painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner were known to encourage their artist friends to move to Springs, where they lived, in the northern, cheaper part of the tony town of East Hampton.
One day, Pollock noticed a house for sale some 2.5 miles from his own and called friend and fellow Abstract Expressionist Nicolas Carone, who soon moved into the place with his wife and twin boys in 1954. Carone and Pollock then transformed a former chicken coop into a studio, adding an antique brick floor and a small potbellied stove for taking the nippy chill off winter.
Like Pollock and Krasner, Carone was part of the New York School of painters, and he painted some of his best known works in East Hampton, including pictures in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Carone’s wife was also artistic; she owned a stenciling business and decorated the cottage with many of her own stencils, some of which remain, most notably on the stairs. On the risers of the steps are the words to poet and playwright John Howard Payne’s “Home Sweet Home,” which was written about his childhood home in East Hampton, which is now known as the Home Sweet Home Museum.
Carone and his wife divorced in 1964, and he moved back to New York City, renting the house and studio to another abstract expressionist artist, Willem de Kooning. Though it has changed hands a few time, the former Carone property is now available on the open market for the first time in a century with an asking price just shy of $1.75 million. The property is available via Rebekah C Baker of Sotheby’s International Realty.
With three bedrooms and three and a half baths in about 1,400 square feet, what the 1838 farmhouse lacks in size is more than made up for with charm. Because of its historical significance, there are some restrictions on what can be done to the house. For example, the fireplace must remain and the house and studio cannot be removed. Notably, though, the listing says that there are “multi-generational compound possibilities—two more one-acre adjacent lots could be available for a total of a three-lot compound.” All of these would have a nice view of the bay.
Considering how quaint and wonderfully preserved the interiors are, it’s a relief that they must stay fairly intact. There are old beams, old floors, and the original bread oven and wood box are next to the fireplace. The studio, about 650 square feet, includes a sink and toilet and an outdoor shower. The main cottage also has an outdoor shower, near a slate patio surrounded by mature trees. The artsy compound is rounded out by a one-car garage/workshop.
Interested? The market may be cooling due to inflation and rising interest rates, but prices in Springs keep going up. So this place presents a great opportunity for a deep-pocketed caretaker with a creative bent, one who will further enhance the property’s legacy of artist owners and residents.