UPCOMING SALES TO FEATURE ONE OF THE GREATEST PERSONAL COLLECTIONS OF FILM MEMORABILIA TO COME TO AUCTION IN DECADES
HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE COSTUMES, SCRIPTS, AND CHERISHED GIFTS FROM FRIENDS, ARTISTS AND FAMOUS ADMIRERS
New York – On December 16, as the final sale session in the landmark, week-long auctions devoted to The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor, Christie’s New York is honored to present a stellar selection of film memorabilia and costumes from Hollywood’s legendary leading lady. Assembled over more than five decades of stage and screen stardom, her memorabilia collection features a dazzling array of carefully preserved costumes, film scripts, fine art, and gifts from her many admirers, including Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, and Michael Jackson. Over 150 items are included in the sale session, which also includes a superb group of fine and decorative items from Elizabeth Taylor’s Bel Air home.
“This is the most intriguing and desirable personal collection of film memorabilia to have come to auction in more than a decade,” noted Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie’s Americas. “From her personal copy of the book ‘National Velvet’, to the fleet of director’s chairs from her many films, to the love-letter drawing of lips personally inscribed to her by Andy Warhol, this fascinating assemblage of items offers us a deeply personal look at the objects and items Elizabeth Taylor herself cherished most and kept close to her at home in Bel Air.”
Since the opening of the public exhibition on December 3, about 3,000 visitors per day to Christie’s flagship Rockefeller Center galleries have previewed this exceptional assemblage of memorabilia, along with more than 1,000 items from Elizabeth Taylor’s vast collection of jewelry, fashion and fine art. The complete Collection is presented in a lavish museum-quality exhibition devoted to Ms. Taylor’s towering legacy as a film star, fashion icon, and dauntless AIDS activist. The exhibition concludes on December 12, just prior to the start of the auction series which runs December 13-16 at Christie’s New York.
Film buffs and ardent fans alike have been captivated by the star’s personal collection of film memorabilia and costumes, which are displayed alongside her three Academy Awards® in a gallery space devoted to her Hollywood keepsakes. Highlights include two lilac leather-bound scripts from Ms. Taylor’s best-loved films, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and National Velvet (details, page 3), and more than a dozen beautifully-preserved stage and screen costumes from Cleopatra, A Little Night Music, and Private Lives, among others, as well as five sets of director’s chairs from varying film sets. Signed movie posters, original sketches, and costume designs round out the offerings, along with a framed set of personally signed place cards from President and Mrs. Reagan and Vice President and Mrs. Bush with the ticket from her stage debut in 1981 as Regina in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, in Washington, D.C. (see detailed highlights, page 3).
The auction will also feature a selection of fine art and decorative objects, including an impressive selection of works by Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and Robert Rauschenberg. Warhol was famously obsessed by Ms. Taylor’s radiant beauty; long before they became friends, Warhol captured her celebrated beauty in numerous works. Ms. Taylor’s personal copy of his signature ‘Liz’ print, which is inscribed ‘To Elizabeth with much love Andy Warhol’ is offered as the grand finale lot of the December 14 Evening Sale of The Icon & Her Haute Couture. The December 15 sale will feature two additional works by Warhol: Diamond Dust Candy Box, a sparkling depiction of a opened box of chocolates coated with a sheen of diamond dust (pictured at left; estimate: $60,000-80,000), and Untitled, a postcard-sized drawing of lips that Warhol addressed ‘to elizabeth a big kiss.’ (pictured page one center; estimate: $6,000-8,000).
Among the most charming artworks in the decorative art section is a bronze, life-size sculpture of a calf (pictured at right; 40” high, estimate: $4,000-6,000), created by Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter Liza Todd-Tivey, an accomplished artist and sculptor. The calf, affectionately nicknamed ‘Rosie’, was commissioned by the village of Gstaad in 1999 to stand in the town square, the Swiss mountain resort where Elizabeth Taylor and her children had vacationed from the early 1960s onwards. The sale features Ms. Taylor’s personal edition of the Gstaad calf, which stood in her garden at home in Bel Air, as well as a smaller bronze maquette measuring 7 in x 12 in (estimate: $400-600).
Additional Highlights - Film Memorabilia and Costumes
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, 1977
Red beaded empire-line evening gown made for Elizabeth Taylor as Desirée Armfeldt in the 1977 film adaptation, A Little Night Music
The musical narrates the romantic lives of a collection of friends and acquaintances. Elizabeth Taylor as Desirée Armfeldt is seen wearing an identical gown during the banquet scene at Madame Armfeldt’s country retreat, and later when she and Fredrik Egarman, played by Len Cariou, are alone. Following Fredrik’s rejection of Desirée’s offer to rescue him from his marriage to a virgin bride, she breaks into her rendition of the ballad, Send in the Clowns.
Embroidered kimono made for Elizabeth Taylor as Flora ‘Sissy’ Goforth in 1968 film, Boom!
This ornate kimono is identical to the one Elizabeth Taylor wore as Flora ‘Sissy’ Goforth during the scene in which she shares an intimate evening meal with Noël Coward, who plays Flora’s inquisitive friend the Witch of Capri. The film was an adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore and was reworked by Williams for the screen production, bearing in mind that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton would be cast as the central characters.
NATIONAL VELVET, 1944
Elizabeth Taylor’s script for the 1944 M.G.M production National Velvet, presentation bound for Elizabeth by Eddie Fisher, original cover with slogan SAVE FILM! HELP WIN THE WAR!
National Velvet was Ms. Taylor’s first starring role in a film. She was only twelve when she took the leading role opposite Mickey Rooney in Enid Bagnold’s story of the little girl who dreams of winning the Grand National steeplechase. At the end of filming, M.G.M. gave her King Charles, the horse she had ridden. Many years later, her husband Eddie Fisher gave her lilac leather-bound copies of all the scripts she had played.
An Irene Sharraf caftan, made for Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra
Costume designer Irene Sharraf was solely in charge of the designs and numerous costumes made for, and worn by, Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 Twentieth Century Fox production Cleopatra. Sharraf won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Costume Design, along with fellow costumiers on the film, Vittorio Nino Novarese and Renié. Elizabeth Taylor wears an identical caftan in a still taken during a wardrobe test. The palmyra-and-lotus-flower motif is visible throughout the production, in some of the costumes worn by Taylor as Cleopatra and in the set design.
NIBBLES AND ME, 1946
Written and illustrated by Elizabeth Taylor
In 1946, 13-year-old Elizabeth Taylor wrote this children’s book about her real-life adventures with a chipmunk named Nibbles. Taylor was paid $1,000 for her story by New York-based publisher Duell, Sloan and Pearce. She first found Nibbles while filming Courage of Lassie. According to Taylor, “Nibbles and Me sprang from a school assignment. Each week we had to do an essay on any subject we chose, and Nibbles was my favorite subject. I kept a diary of our experiences together. I think it was the teacher’s suggestion that I write it with a sense of continuity, as if it were a book.”
X, Y and ZEE, 1972
A cream terrycloth caftan, accompanied by a similar white caftan, both made for Elizabeth Taylor as Zee Blakeley in the 1972 Columbia film X, Y and Zee
The cream caftan with black embroidery is identical to the one worn by Elizabeth Taylor as Zee Blakeley during the scene where she and Robert, played by Michael Caine, have a bitter argument following his return home from an overnight stay with his new mistress.
BOB DYLAN, POSTER & POEM
A Bob Dylan publicity poster, inscribed in violet ink in Bob Dylan’s hand with a poem and get-well message to Elizabeth Taylor
This heartfelt poem to Elizabeth Taylor by Bob Dylan shows the close friendship the pair shared. Dylan did not hide his affection for Taylor; his 1962 song I Shall Be Free, which features the lyric, “I make love to Elizabeth Taylor . . . catch hell from Richard Burton.” The poem on this poster, written sometime later, reveals Dylan’s continuing adoration. Borrowing the title of the famous 1915 country song, Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair, the poem runs thirteen lines in three verses, concluding with the reassuring line, “You must never get downhearted, girl, you have the truth of ageless love.”
Highlights - Fine and Decorative Arts
EMILE GALLE (1846-1904)
A FRUITWOOD MARQUETRY ÉTAGÈRE,
53¼ in. (135 cm.) high, 34½ in. (87.5 cm.) wide,
21 in. (53.2 cm.) deep
$7,000 - $10,000
A FAVRILE GLASS VASE, circa 1915
9¼ in. (23.5 cm.) high
$4,000 - $6,000
A MARTELÉ WHEEL-CARVED CAMEO
15¼ in. (38.7 cm.) high
$8,000 - $12,000
AN ENAMELED METAL AND SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL-SET occasional table
26 in. (66 cm.) high, 21 in. (53.5 cm.) diameter
$6,000 - $8,000
A LARGE GRAY SCHOLAR'S ROCK
52 in. (132 cm.) high, 27 in. (68.5 cm.) wide, 14½ in. (37 cm.) deep
$8,000 - $12,000
The complete e-catalogue for sale of Fine and Decorative Arts & Film Memorabilia from
The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor is available online at:
In addition to the jewelry, fashion and film memorabilia offered in the live auction on December 15, Christie’s is presenting an Online-Only sale of 950 additional items, including more costumes and film memorabilia.
To view the entire selection, visit http://www.christies.com/etonlineonly