At Home With: The Artful Lodgers

Rick and Ellen Grossman, owners of local modern furniture hub Ligne Roset, spent 40 years assembling the eclectic art collection that gives their Brookline home a museumlike air.

At first, Rick Grossman seems more like an art historian than a high-end furniture dealer. With an uncanny memory for names and dates, he tells the story of the 5,000-square-foot house he bought with his wife, Ellen, in 1970. Built as a stable in the 17th century for the eminent Boylston family, the structure was eventually converted into a residence. It’s now an ideal backdrop for the Grossmans’ art and furniture, the provenance of which Rick can recall down to the last detail.

The success of the Grossmans’ design businesses, which have included a Cambridge retail fabric store, an import/distribution company, and the Boston outlet of modern furniture retailer Ligne Roset, has undoubtedly hinged on the couple’s highly informed taste. Their fine art collection is astounding, especially the photography, which includes John Goodman‘s famous image Yael/Blue.

Rick and Ellen favor an insider’s approach to collecting art. Avid amateur photographers, they attend workshops with top New England artists like Constantine Manos and serve on the boards of organizations like the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University and the Society of Arts and Crafts. Many purchases came from auctions held for the associations of which they are members. Indeed, thanks to their tireless commitment to continuing education and their passion for the arts, the Grossmans now count some of the country’s best photographers, sculptors, and furniture makers among their closest friends.