May 22, 2022

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Only The Finest Women

Palm Springs home in Slim Aarons’ famed 1970s ‘Poolside Gossip’ sells for $13.06M

The modernist Southern California home featured in Slim Aarons’ iconic 1970 shot ‘Poolside Gossip’ has been sold for $13.06 million.

The five-bedroom, six-bathroom home was designed by Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra and built in 1946 for a Pennsylvania department store heir.

The home features sweeping views of the mountains and was popularized by Aarons’ famous photograph, which shows a group of chic women – including then-owner Nelda Linsk – lounging by the pool with drinks.

The home was first listed for $25 million in October 2020.

The price was lowered to $16.95 million before it was eventually sold for $13 million in an off-market deal to an unknown buyer, listing agent Gerard Bisignano of Vista Sotheby’s International Realty told the Wall Street Journal.

It was previously owned by Brent R. Harris, the former chairman of Pacific Investment Management Co. Harris spent five years restoring the home in the 1990s and recently completed another renovation.

Harris, who is retired, has been accused of sexual harassment and discrimination by three women in a lawsuit first filed in 2020, Bloomberg reports.

The pool area today

The photo shows a group of chic women, including then-owner socialite Nelda Linsk (left), lounging by the pool. Right: The pool area today

The modernist Palm Springs home featured in Slim Aarons' iconic 1970 shot 'Poolside Gossip' has sold for $13.06 million

The modernist Palm Springs home featured in Slim Aarons’ iconic 1970 shot ‘Poolside Gossip’ has sold for $13.06 million

The sun-kissed sitting room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a view to the outdoor pool and surrounding palm trees

The sun-kissed sitting room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a view to the outdoor pool and surrounding palm trees

The 3,200 sq ft property sits on a three acre lot. The main bedroom, guest bedroom and service room wings branch off from the central living and dining area

The 3,200 sq ft property sits on a three acre lot. The main bedroom, guest bedroom and service room wings branch off from the central living and dining area

The stylish home became a symbol of modern architecture after it was popularized in a 1970 Slim Aarons photograph

The stylish home became a symbol of modern architecture after it was popularized in a 1970 Slim Aarons photograph

Photographer Slim Aarons, above in 1955,  popularized the home in the American consciousness

Photographer Slim Aarons, above in 1955,  popularized the home in the American consciousness

The unidentified new owner is a European businessman with a ‘deep and rich appreciation of Modernist architecture,’ Bisignano told the Journal.

The stylish home sits on a three-acre lot. It is located in Palm Springs, about 106 mi southeast of Los Angeles.

It spans 3,200 sq ft and features guest room, service room and main bedroom wings that branch out of the central living and dining room areas.

A pool, a pool pavilion and tennis court round out the home’s offerings.

The sun-kissed sitting room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a view to the pool and surrounding palm trees. Wood paneling covers much of the minimalist property.

The home was designed by Richard Neutra and built in 1946 for Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr, the owner of the now-defunct Pittsburgh-based department store chain Kaufmann’s.

Kaufmann also owned Fallingwater, another modernist home in Pennsylvania designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Palm Springs home was made famous when it was featured in a 1970 photograph by Slim Aarons titled ‘Poolside Gossip.’

In the shot, socialite Nelda Linsk sits in a chaise lounge and chats with a friend as other women amble about the estate.

Brent R. Harris first bought the home in the 1990s and spent five years renovating it, removing alterations to reveal the original materials and finding the original manufacturers for newer parts, according to a listing agent

Brent R. Harris first bought the home in the 1990s and spent five years renovating it, removing alterations to reveal the original materials and finding the original manufacturers for newer parts, according to a listing agent

The iconic home was first listed for $25 million in October 2020. The price was lowered to $16.95 million before it was eventually sold for $13 million

The iconic home was first listed for $25 million in October 2020. The price was lowered to $16.95 million before it was eventually sold for $13 million

The home features sweeping views of the mountains, five bedrooms and six bathrooms. It is frequently cited as a prime example of modernist architecture, being designed by fame Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra

The home features sweeping views of the mountains, five bedrooms and six bathrooms. It is frequently cited as a prime example of modernist architecture, being designed by fame Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra

Asked why she believes the photo was so popular, former owner Nelda Linsk said: 'It's our lifestyle. We have such indoor-outdoor living. We have meals out on the terrace. The photo shows the mountains, the sun, the pool'

Asked why she believes the photo was so popular, former owner Nelda Linsk said: ‘It’s our lifestyle. We have such indoor-outdoor living. We have meals out on the terrace. The photo shows the mountains, the sun, the pool’

Previous owners include singer Barry Manilow and Gene Klein, a film executive who once owned the San Diego Chargers

Previous owners include singer Barry Manilow and Gene Klein, a film executive who once owned the San Diego Chargers

The pool pavilion, shown above with wood paneling on the ceiling and chaise lounges, is one of the main draws of the oft-photographed home

The pool pavilion, shown above with wood paneling on the ceiling and chaise lounges, is one of the main draws of the oft-photographed home

‘It just is our lifestyle’: Why was Poolside Gossip so popular?

The house was made famous when it was featured in a 1970 photograph by Slim Aarons titled ‘Poolside Gossip.’ In the shot, socialite Nelda Linsk sits in a chaise lounge and chats with a friend as other women amble about the estate.

‘It was 1970. It was in February, I think. It was about 11 in the morning. Slim called us. He knew our house was a Neutra. He said: ‘I want to come over and do a pool shot. Call some friends over,” Linsk told the New York Times in 2015. It was so casual. He came with his tripod. The shoot was about an hour and a half. We had champagne and socialized for an hour or two afterward. It was a fun day. I had no idea it would become that famous. I wish I had royalties.’

She described a brisk shoot that included clothes from her very own wardrobe. ‘There were no makeup or wardrobe people. Slim said, ‘Pull something out of your closet.’ Our house was done in yellow: the umbrellas were yellow, the flowers yellow. So I thought I’d wear something yellow. My outfit was in yellow terry cloth. I had on palazzo pants. Helen showed up in that fabulous white lace. She looked so glamorous!’ 

Asked why she believes the photo was so popular, she said: ‘It’s our lifestyle. We have such indoor-outdoor living. We have meals out on the terrace. The photo shows the mountains, the sun, the pool. It just is our lifestyle. Of course, it’s the architecture of the house in the background, too.’ She and her husband Joseph Linsk had been going to Palm Springs for years to play golf before they decided to buy a house in the area.

‘It was 1970. It was in February, I think. It was about 11 in the morning. Slim called us. He knew our house was a Neutra. He said: ‘I want to come over and do a pool shot. Call some friends over,” Linsk told the New York Times in 2015.

‘It was so casual. He came with his tripod. The shoot was about an hour and a half. We had champagne and socialized for an hour or two afterward. It was a fun day. I had no idea it would become that famous. I wish I had royalties.’

She described a brisk shoot that included clothes from her very own wardrobe.  

‘There were no makeup or wardrobe people. Slim said, ‘Pull something out of your closet.’ Our house was done in yellow: the umbrellas were yellow, the flowers yellow. So I thought I’d wear something yellow. My outfit was in yellow terry cloth. I had on palazzo pants. Helen showed up in that fabulous white lace. She looked so glamorous!’ 

Asked why she believes the photo was so popular, she said: ‘It’s our lifestyle. We have such indoor-outdoor living. We have meals out on the terrace. The photo shows the mountains, the sun, the pool. It just is our lifestyle. Of course, it’s the architecture of the house in the background, too.’

She and her husband Joseph Linsk had been going to Palm Springs for years to play golf before they decided to buy a house in the area.

‘Then a real estate agent told us about the Neutra house. We got to the gate, and I looked at all the Arizona stone, and I said: ‘This is our house, Joe. This is our house,” she said.

Linsk had ‘great memories’ in the carefully designed estate. 

‘It had those aluminum shutters. If it was windy or sunny, you could close them. The fireplace was Arizona stone. The chimney came all the way up, so there was a fireplace on the second level, too,’ she told the New York Times.

‘I fell in love with the design of the house and the loggia. On a clear day, you could almost see the Salton Sea. We had breakfast up there. There was a dumbwaiter on the loggia. If we forgot a lemon for the martinis, we could call down and they would put it on the dumbwaiter.’

The previous record for the most expensive home sold in Palm Springs was held by late comedian Bob Hope's home, which sold for $13 million in 2016

The previous record for the most expensive home sold in Palm Springs was held by late comedian Bob Hope’s home, which sold for $13 million in 2016

Previous owners include singer Barry Manilow and Gene Klein, a film executive who once owned the San Diego Chargers. Brent R. Harris first bought the home in the 1990s and spent five years renovating it. 

Harris, the home's previous owner and the former chairman of Pacific Investment Management Co, has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women

Harris, the home’s previous owner and the former chairman of Pacific Investment Management Co, has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women

He removed alterations to reveal the original materials and replaced parts of the house using the original manufacturers and craftsmen, Bisingano told the Journal. 

He renovated it again before he sold it.

Harris has been accused of sexual harassment by at least three women. His former chief assistant, Amanda Thiem, says he made a pass at her and demoted her when she rejected him.

She and two other women also allege that Pimco, the investment management firm he ran, was a boys’ club that passed over women for promotions and alienated them by hosting gatherings at strip clubs and golf courses, Bloomberg reports.

‘Thiem experienced persistent acts of sexual harassment by male employees, was retaliated against, intimidated, humiliated, and publicly shamed at Pimco,’ according to a complaint filed in California Superior Court in Santa Ana.

Harris sold the home because he felt it was time to pass it on to someone else, according to Bisingano. 

The identity of the home’s new owner is unknown.

The home’s $13.06 million price tag is a new high for the Palm Springs area. 

The record was previously held by the home of late comedian Bob Hope, which sold for $13 million in 2016. The mushroom-shaped home was designed by John Lautner and built in 1979.