Huguette Clark as a child, with one of her dolls. From the W.A. Clark Memorial Library, UCLA.
Bellosguardo, the summer estate bought by the Clarks in 1925 in Santa Barbara, California, has been unoccupied by its owners since the early 1950s, but remains fully furnished and carefully preserved. Huguette allowed few visitors. The house surrounds a reflecting pool with orange trees on each side. Credit: John L. Wiley, http://flickr.com/jw4pix/, from the book "Empty Mansions."
W.A. Clark brought over form Paris this golden room, the Salon Doré. Huguette recalled that their father would not let the girls play in this eighteenth-century room, which is now in the Clark Collection at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. Credit: © Cris Molina, from the book "Empty Mansions."
On a summer visit to Butte in about 1917, W. A. Clark posed with daughters Andrée, left, and Huguette at Columbia Gardens, the dance pavilion and family park that he built for the people of Butte. The girls were about fifteen and eleven. W.A. loved to show off his flower gardens here, and Huguette remembered going on a tour inside one of his copper mines. Credit: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, from the book "Empty Mansions."
Believed to be a self-portrait, this unsigned painting shows Huguette Clark in her twenties. At a time when most women painted with pastels, Huguette was a serious art student, mixing her own oil paints. Credit: The Estate of Huguette M. Clark, from the book "Empty Mansions."
This painting by Huguette captures her view down Fifth Avenue in the snow, toward the Empire State Building. It emphasizes the cold, moist air in the blue-gray night, contrasted with the warmth inside her window, lit by the glow from a Japanese lamp. Credit: The Estate of Huguette M. Clark, from the book "Empty Mansions."
Huguette painted this geisha, bathed in gold, with attention to exquisite detail in the fabrics and colors. She studied Japanese culture and collected elaborate kimonos and hairpieces. But visiting Japan was a different matter. Credit: The Estate of Huguette M. Clark. Collection of Bill Dedman, from the book "Empty Mansions."
Huguette was shy, but not sad. Her friends and the few relatives who knew her describe her as cheerful, gracious, stubborn, and devoted to her art and her charity to friends and strangers. She poses in a Japanese print dress at about age 37. Credit: The Estate of Huguette M. Clark, from the book "Empty Mansions."
As her mother had bought a California ranch as a refuge during World War II, Huguette during the Cold War bought this Connecticut retreat, Le Beau Château, in New Canaan. It sat empty for more than sixty years. When she offered it for sale, so she could bestow more gifts on her friends and staff, it led to the disclosure of her reclusive lifestyle. Credit: © Stefenturner.com via Barbara Cleary’s Realty Guild, from the book "Empty Mansions."
This Degas ballerina, owned by Huguette, was stolen from her apartment after she went into the hospital, and ended up on the wall of a collector in the Midwest. She agreed to give it away to avoid any publicity from trying to recover it. Credit: Edgar Degas, Dancer Making Points (Danseuse Faisant des Pointes), 1879–80: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, from the book "Empty Mansions."
Huguette sold this Stradivari violin for $6 million so she could make more gifts. In 1955 she had bought this famous violin, known as "La Pucelle" or "The Virgin," but she preferred to play her lesser Strad, which she dubbed "Traveler." Credit: Violin “La Pucelle” by Antonio Stradivari, 1709: The Fulton Collection, © David Fulton, from the book "Empty Mansions."
After Huguette died, her jewelry fetched $18 million for her estate at auction. This Art Deco diamond and multi-gem charm bracelet, from about 1925, sold for $75,000. Credit: Art Deco diamond and multi-gem charm bracelet, c. 1925, owned by Huguette Clark: Christie’s, New York.
Huguette's pair of emerald, natural pearl and diamond ear pendants, by Cartier, from the early twentieth century, sold for $85,000. Credit: Emerald, pearl, and diamond ear pendants by Cartier, early twentieth century, owned by Huguette Clark: Christie’s, New York.
Huguette's Art Deco diamond bracelet, by Cartier, circa 1925, sold for $480,000. Credit: Art Deco diamond bracelet by Cartier, c. 1925, owned by Huguette Clark: Christie’s, New York.
Huguette's Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet, by Cartier, circa 1925, sold for $90,000. Credit: Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet by Cartier, c. 1925, owned by Huguette Clark: Christie’s, New York.

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