Kykuit, the six-story stone house that served as home to four generations of Rockefellers, opens to visitors for the season on Saturday, May 13, 2006 featuring a new modern art tour that is the first visitor experience to focus solely on the works collected by the late Nelson A. Rockefeller.
Historic Hudson Valley offers several different tour options for Kykuit, a historic site of the National Trust, allowing visitors to choose a tour that best suits their interests.
Tour options range from a three-hour Grand Tour of the building and grounds to a shortened “Timesaver” tour that wraps up in under two hours.
New this year is the Modern Art Tour, the first Kykuit tour to showcase the estate’s full sculpture and modern art collection. It’s also a thematic departure from other Kykuit tours, which focus broadly on the philanthropy and interests of the four generations of Rockefellers who made Kykuit their home. Instead, the new Saturday-only Modern Art Tour highlights Nelson Rockefeller and other family members as patrons and collectors of contemporary art. The collection of Mr. Rockefeller, who was New York governor from 1959-1973 and vice president of the United States from 1974-1977, was influenced by his mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Among the New York-based artists represented at Kykuit are Louise Nevelson, Larry Bell, Fritz Glarner, Edgar Negret, Julio Alpuy, Grace Hartigan, and Andy Warhol. Other significant artists represented include Robert Motherwell, Roselio Polisello, Henry Moore, and Alexander Calder.
The tour also features twelve tapestries by Pablo Picasso, all based on his paintings and commissioned by the governor between 1955 and 1974. The governor’s desire to have “portable” art that could be easily transported between New York City, Pocantico Hills, and Albany, was part of the inspiration for these creations.
“Kykuit still exists almost unchanged after nearly 100 years,” said Susan Greenstein, director of the Kykuit program for Historic Hudson Valley. “No matter what tour they choose, visitors get the benefit of spending their time with enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, who tell the stories of all four generations of Rockefellers who lived at the estate. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to soak in Kykuit’s fabulous scenery and unparalleled Hudson River views. In all, it’s a powerful, yet calm and peaceful experience.”
The hilltop Kykuit (which means “lookout” in Dutch) was built by John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. His business acumen made him the richest man in America in his day. Some of the tours also include visits to Kykuit’s terraced gardens and cavernous Coach Barn, with its collection of horse-drawn carriages, vintage automobiles, and equestrian equipment.
Ticket prices for Kykuit tours range from $19-$36; $9-$26 for Historic Hudson Valley members. Tickets for the Modern Art Tour, which is two-and-a-half hours in length, are $30; $20 for Historic Hudson Valley members.
Reservations are strongly recommended for The Grand Tour (daily except Tuesday) and the Modern Art Tour (Saturday only at 12:45). Reservations are not needed for other tours, but slots fill up quickly on weekends. Kykuit tours are not appropriate for children under 10, and no children under 10 are permitted on the Grand Tour or the Modern Art Tour due to safety and security considerations.
All tours start at the Kykuit Visitor Center at Philipsburg Manor, at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow. Tickets can be purchased there (doors open at 9) or by calling 914-631-9491. For more information, visit their website at www.hudsonvalley.org.