Highland Mills. Expecting to fetch between $300K and $500K, the story of the Tiffany Studios window is gaining attention for the Rushmore Estate as it transforms into local a wedding venue.
In 1908, New York City financier and attorney Charles E. Rushmore commissioned the building of a new Spanish Colonial mansion in Highland Mills so his ill wife, Jeannette Carpenter Rushmore, could benefit from the fresh country air. Naming it Carmore, he also directed Tiffany Studios to create a stained-glass window for the home’s grand staircase.
On June 14, 2023, that one-of-a-kind window will be auctioned at Christie’s. It expected to fetch from $300,000 to $500,000.
The story of the ornate window’s removal from the home circa 1996, purchase by the famed Getty family and subsequent route to the auction block from Berkeley, Calif., is drawing attention to Rushmore’s estate, now undergoing a rebirth as a wedding venue and bed and breakfast.
“I had heard that a Tiffany window had been in the house, but was never able to find out where it is today,” Dr. Seth Pulver, the current owner of Carmore, said. “Then recently, all of a sudden, I got a call from the historical society in town that someone from Christie’s was inquiring about the window.”
The Christie’s auction will inaugurate the next era for the “Cypress and Azalea” landscape window. It is being auctioned on behalf of the family of Ann and Gordon Getty as part of “The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection: Temple of Wings.” A similar auction of the Gettys’ arts, porcelain and more last year earned $150 million. Proceeds this year benefit arts and science organizations.
From estate to auction block
The leaded and plated glass window – 77.5 inches high by 77 inches wide – depicts the country landscape beloved by the Rushmores, featuring cypress trees against distant purple mountains. The forefront shows a stream and blooming azaleas under a blue sky, all “beautifully rendered in multicolored opalescent glass. Greens, pinks, and yellows hint at grass and flowers, while the dream-like mountains shimmer in cobalt and deep purple,” according to Christie’s description.
The window remained in the Rushmore Estate mansion until 1996, when the owner at the time, likely recognizing its uniqueness and value, sold it. The Gettys acquired it at a Christie’s auction for their Berkeley home. A conventional window replaced it at Carmore. That window remains in the home Pulver purchased in 2002 as a residence for his family.
Pulver has never seen the Tiffany window in person, but “I’m interested in acquiring it. I’ve written a letter and made a plea to hopefully reunite the window with the house.” While the expected price may scuttle that dream, Pulver intends to attend the Christie’s auction to view a portion of his home’s history up close.
New life for the mansion
In the meantime, Pulver is giving the mansion and 55-acre property at 14 Castleton Drive its next chapter as a wedding venue and bed and breakfast. He already has hosted community events for police, firefighters and senior citizens.
“This house is built for a community to enjoy,” he said, noting the property’s resort setting, rustic charm, private beach, 60-foot pool overlooking a lake, waterfall and breathtaking views, all perfect for a destination wedding or luxurious getaway.
Much of the Rushmore Estate’s interior is preserved in its original condition. The ballroom features vaulted ceilings with elegant plaster carvings, French doors opening to a stone patio, oak floors and an oversized fireplace. The lavish architecture ensures a unique experience for guests accommodated in four large suites offering privacy and luxury.
More than one
The property retains another Tiffany creation from the early 1900s: a stone and glazed terracotta clocktower with the original wind-up clock still ticking inside Tiffany-designed clocktower faces.
Charles E. Rushmore is whom Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is named. Depicting the 60-foot-high faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt carved into the mountainside in South Dakota’s Black Hills, it was completed in 1941.