Ingmar Bergman Estate Sold to Highest Bidder

Bergman barn Ingmar Bergman’s estate on the windswept Baltic sea island of Fårö is likely to be sold off to a private buyer. Bergman lived in Fårö from 1960 until his death in July 2007. The main residence on the estate was designed by architect Kjell Abramson in close collaboration with Bergman himself. Bergman used a restored 19th-century barn on the property as his private cinema (above). He wrote many of his film scripts in an Abramson-designed office overlooking the sea, and the buildings and land around the estate were the settings for seven of his films, including Scenes from a Marriage.

One group had hoped to turn the property into an artists’ retreat, but they were unable to raise the capital to buy the house, despite pleas to Woody Allen and the Swedish government for contributions. No word on why Allen didn’t contribute, but the Swedish government rebuffed requests to intervene, claiming that the government wasn’t in the business of saving private homes. (A former Swedish prime minister spoke out in favor of the planned artists’ retreat.) The government’s refusal to save the home of one of its most important artists is odd, considering the country has a Ministry of Culture that promotes cultural heritage, radio and television, press and periodicals, and even ecclesiastical matters.

About his estate on the island, Bergman wrote in his memoir, The Magic Lantern (1987), “If one wished to be solemn, it could be said that I had found my real home; if one wished to be light hearted, it could be said that it was love at first sight.” However, ten years before he wrote his memoir he stipulated in his will that his home should be sold to the highest bidder. His house has been on sale since May, and last week was the deadline for submitting bids to Christie’s, which is handling the sale. So much for love at first sight.

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