The Gallery-Like Home of Collector Chara Schreyer, Who Championed ‘Strange’ Art, Has Come to Market in San Francisco

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The gleaming San Francisco residence of the late Chara Schreyer, one of the world’s leading collectors of contemporary and modern art, has entered the market for $4.9 million. 

Schreyer began collecting in the early 1970s with a focus on art that challenged the status quo—“making strange,” as she called it. Her collection quickly grew to include works by some of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Eva Hesse, Joseph Beuys, Louise Nevelson, and Donald Judd.

Left to right: Christian Marclay, <em>Breasts</em> (1989), Yayoi Kusama's <em>Screw</em> (1964) on the table, and Willem De Kooning's <em>Untitled (Standing Figure)</em> (1969–1980). Photo: Jeffrey Frisk. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Left to right: Christian Marclay, (1989), Yayoi Kusama’s (1964) on the table, and Willem De Kooning’s (1969–1980). Photo: Jeffrey Frisk. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

The gallery-like pied-à-terre atop the Four Seasons residential tower—listed by Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco—is one of five homes across California in which Schreyer split her collection, including her primary home in Tiburon, just across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Chara Schreyer, in white, leads a tour of her art-filled Los Angeles home for the Visionary Women Luncheon, 2021. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Visionary Women)

Chara Schreyer, in white, leads a tour of her art-filled Los Angeles home for the Visionary Women Luncheon, 2021. Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Visionary Women.

Schreyer often opened her homes to the public for tours of her collection. Over the past decade, she personally led more than 200 tours for university groups, museum boards, and cultural institutions ranging from the Centre Pompidou to the Guggenheim.

Schreyer served on the boards of several California museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA), and the Hammer Museum. She also supported the Contemporary Jewish Museum, where she helped spearhead the Daniel Libeskind-designed expansion in 2008. 

Lawrence Weiner, <em>A Cloth of Cotton Folded OneWay to Enhance Subsequently Ironed</em> (2008). Photo: Jeffrey Frisk. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Lawrence Weiner, (2008). Photo: Jeffrey Frisk. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Chara was a legendary collector, visionary and advocate for artists,” remembered Maria Seferian, chair of the MOCA Board of Trustees. “Her legacy will long be remembered for her vision, passion, and generosity.”

The San Francisco condominium, spanning 2,730 square feet in the northwest corner of the Four Seasons, features a concierge, 24/7 in-room dining, and an Equinox fitness center on site, not to mention oversized windows with lateral views of the Humboldt Building dome. Schreyer bought the 24th floor unit precisely for its view of the historic structure, a symbol of the city’s rebirth after the 1906 earthquake.

<em>The Artist is a Fountain (Repository)</em> (2002). Phto: Jeffrey Frisk. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Left to right: Gilbert & George, (1974), Man Ray, (1949), Dan Flavin, (1964), and John Baldessari, (2002). Photo: Jeffrey Frisk. Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Architect Timothy Gemmill designed the space to echo the blocks and grids of the city, with sophisticated touchpad lighting controls to highlight the artworks. The interior design was imagined by Gary Hutton in a collaboration that lasted four decades. Schreyer and Hutton’s creative friendship is explored in the 2014 book Art House (published by Assouline), a visual tour of all five homes created to showcase an extraordinary art collection.

 

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