Auction Set at Kluge Estate in Virginia

On June 8 and 9, Sotheby’s will auction the contents of Albemarle House, the 45-room neo-Georgian country home of Patricia Kluge, the philanthropist and vintner, near Charlottesville, Va. The two-day auction will be held in a ballroom on Mrs. Kluge’s estate, which is down the road from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Anyone curious to see the opulent interiors, cluttered with Georgian furniture and Old Masters paintings, may drop by the house during the presale exhibition, from May 31 to June 6. A copy of the 620-page catalog, the largest that Sotheby’s has produced, is required for entry. (It can be ordered at for $65.)
The 933 lots range in value from $50 to $70 for a set of seven Majolica dinner plates to $600,000 to $1 million for an 18th-century Chinese automaton clock made by the Guangzhou workshops during the Qing dynasty. Sotheby’s estimates the auction will earn $9.5 million.
The 24,000-square-foot house was designed in 1980 by David Easton, the architect and decorator, for Mrs. Kluge, a former belly dancer and pinup model, and her husband, John Kluge, the founder of Metromedia, whom Forbes ranked as the richest man in the United States, with $5.2 billion, in 1989. When the couple split amicably in 1990, she kept the house and received a financial settlement, said to be the interest on $1 billion. (The New York Times described it as “a divorce made in heaven.”)
After 25 years of entertaining presidents, movie stars and sundry royals in grand style, Mrs. Kluge is ready for a simpler life. “You have to have energy to live like this,” Mrs. Kluge, 61, said of the house, which has 8 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a theater, a disco and a beauty salon. Outside are an orchard, a conservatory, a Gothic-style chapel, stables and a guest cottage. She has listed the 300-acre estate with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, for $48 million.
Mrs. Kluge and her third husband, William Moses, are moving to a smaller house they’ve built nearby, which she described as “Colonialish, with modern interiors” and fewer possessions. “Life is not about material things,” she said. “I’ve had time with these pieces. It’s time for someone else to enjoy them.”