PRESS RELEASE: Explore Audrey Hepburn's Personal World On & Off Screen at Christie's Exhibition
London – Christie’s flagship live and online auctions of the Personal Collection of Audrey Hepburn are a celebration of the life and career of arguably the most famous screen actress of the 20th Century, as seen through the lens of the objects she collected, used and loved. Following the initial announcement, a total of almost 500 lots will be offered in September 2017, across two auctions (Part I and Part II), providing a remarkable opportunity to explore Audrey Hepburn’s personal world, both on and off screen.
The journey ‘begins’ with the earliest item from Hepburn’s collection: a 1940s black lacquered board suitcase, Nedfabrikaat (made in the Netherlands), possibly the suitcase with which she arrived in the United Kingdom (estimate: £400-600) and also the earliest professional lot: a contract for the London production of the hit Broadway musical ‘High Button Shoes’, 1948-1949 (estimate: £1,000-1,500).
AUDREY’S LIFE ON STAGE AND SCREEN
Having risen to stardom in the 1951 Broadway production Gigi, an adaptation of 1944 novella by French novelist Collette, to whom she attributed her discovery, Audrey filmed the hit movie Roman Holiday in 1953, but she believed that it would be the second big film that would prove if she was really worthy of the first. That second film was the 1954 Paramount production Sabrina. Her working script dated 7 October, 1953, is offered (estimate: £15,000-25,000), along with loose pages of script which expose the ongoing rewrites throughout filming, during which there was on-set animosity between the leading men (estimate: £2,000-3,000). Ahead of filming, Audrey went to Paris to acquire Sabrina’s wardrobe, famously beginning her lifelong collaboration and friendship with Hubert de Givenchy. Behind the scenes insights include a group of 23 gelatin silver publicity prints taken during filming by Mark Shaw for LIFE Magazine’s photographic essay Audrey Hepburn, Many-sided Charmer, for the 7 December 1953 issue (estimate: £8,000-12,000); and approximately 986 gelatin silver contact prints on 51 sheets by Mark Shaw also for the feature (estimate: £20,000-30,000).
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, 1961
In addition to Hepburn’s working script for the Paramount production Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which includes deleted scenes (estimate: £60,000-90,000), further lots surrounding the iconic film include a signed publicity shot of Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard (estimate: £2,000-3,000); a letter from Truman Capote expressing his pleasure that Hepburn had taken the now iconic role of Holly Golightly in the screen adaptation of his 1958 novella (estimate: £4,000-6,000); contact sheets from the film (estimate: £2,000-3,000); a Golden Ticket stub and souvenir programme for the European premiere (estimate: £300-500) and three production stills from the party scene (estimate: £1,000-1,500).
The Paris-based comedy-thriller Charade, written specifically for Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, went on to become Hepburn’s biggest hit yet, hailed by The New Yorker as the best American film of the year. The sale includes Hepburn’s working script, dated 1 October 1962 (estimate: £15,000-25,000), a two piece Givenchy couture cocktail gown of black satin designed for the party scene at Les Black Sheep Club (estimate: £50,000-80,000). A firm favourite, Hepburn’s sons confirm that their mother continued to wear the gown on many occasions after the production, including to a Donatello Award Dinner in 1964, at which she was photographed with Mel Ferrer.
MY FAIR LADY, 1964
Hepburn’s working script for the Warner Bros. production My Fair Lady, dated 24 June, 1963 (estimate: £30,000-50,000), is offered alongside six rare original 12” acetate recordings of Audrey Hepburn singing the songs which were later controversially dubbed by Marnie Nixon (estimate: £2,000-3,000) and a letter from Katharine Hepburn noting that she was ‘appalled’ Audrey wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for her performance (estimate: £1,000-1,500). Cecil Beaton designed the costumes and photographed Audrey in her own and those of other characters (estimates from £1,500 to £5,000). An Edwardian style high necked blouse by Beaton is thought to be a prototype of the blouse worn by Eliza Doolittle during the Rain in Spain and I Could Have Danced All Night numbers and was clearly a precious memento of the film to Hepburn (estimate: £10,000-15,000). The sale also includes a ticket to the World Premiere (estimate: £300-500); a photograph with and signed by co-star Rex Harrison at the premiere (estimate: £300-500) and a continental gold snuff box, circa 1965, engraved To Eliza Doolittle from Henry Higgins, presented by Harrison after filming (estimate: £5,000-8,000).
Including the films detailed above, the flagship live sale (Part I) presents a total of 12 of Audrey’s working scripts: the earliest being Gigi (1951) (estimate: £15,000-25,000); Ondine (Broadway, 1954) (estimate: £6,000-9,000); War & Peace (1956) dated 28 June, 1955, including a sketch by Hepburn of her costume for the final scene, deleted scenes and cut dialogue (estimate: £10,000-15,000); The Nun’s Story (1959) including deleted scenes (estimate: £10,000-15,000); Paris When It Sizzles (1964) marked in pencil and Hepburn’s signature turquoise ink (estimate: £10,000-15,000); Two For The Road (1967) (estimate: £6,000-9,000); Wait Until Dark (1967), which earned Audrey her fifth and final Oscar nomination for Best Actress (script dated 25 November, 1966, estimate: £6,000-9,000); and Robin and Marian (1976) (estimate: £5,000-8,000).
FURTHER FILM HIGHLIGHTS (1953-1989)
The treasure trove of film highlights in the flagship live auction (Part I) also includes: Roman Holiday (1953) – a memento of a trick director William Wyler and Gregory Peck played on Hepburn when filming: a pendant modelled as the Bocca della Verità (estimate: £600-900); Funny Face (1957) - a letter from Fred Astaire to Hepburn anticipating the film’s success (estimate: £500-800); Love in the Afternoon (1957) – a photograph album containing 53 gelatin silver photographs taken during filming by Zinn Arthur (estimate: £2,000-3,000); The Nun’s Story (1959) - a colourless paste tiara which Hepburn wore with a Givenchy gown to the London premiere and later wore in Two For The Road (1967) (estimate: £7,000-10,000). Green Mansions (1959) – photographs by Bob Willoughby capturing, on and off set, the extraordinary relationship Hepburn nurtured with a fawn she adopted at four weeks old for the role of Rima (estimates from £1,500 to £5,000); How to Steal a Million (1966) - 17 gelatin silver production stills of Audrey Hepburn on the set (estimate: £2,000-3,000); Always (1989) – a personalised Tiffany & Co. bangle, presented to Hepburn by Steven Spielberg after filming (estimate:£3,000-5,000).
THE AUDREY ‘LOOK’
“The most appealing creature there ever was”
Legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland, in a letter informing Audrey of the unprecedented success of her UK Vogue cover, 1st April 1971 (estimate: £400-600).
Having first been hired at Hepburn’s suggestion to design the actress’s wardrobe for her second Hollywood film, Sabrina, Hubert de Givenchy went on to design Hepburn’s costumes for Love in the Afternoon, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Paris When It Sizzles and How to Steal a Million. Hepburn often wore clothes designed by Givenchy in her private life as well as on screen. In addition to a pale blue cocktail gown from Two For the Road, 1967 (estimate £10,000-15,000) and a two piece Givenchy couture cocktail gown of black satin for Charade (estimate: £50,000-80,000), further highlights include a playful couture black satin cocktail gown trimmed at the neck and hem with feathers from 1968 (estimate: £15,000-25,000). A personal postcard from Givenchy to Hepburn, depicting Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy walking along the Seine together, is signed Always, with love, Hubert (estimate: £300-500). Two 100ml eau de toilette sprays of the bestselling perfume Givenchy developed for Hepburn L’INTERDIT’, each in the original box (estimate: £400-600). 1982 saw the designer celebrate the 30th anniversary of the house of Givenchy; a blue silk scarf printed ‘Givenchy, May 10th 82’ commemorates the occasion (estimate: £400-600).
Upon marrying Dr Andrea Dotti and moving to Rome in the 1970s Audrey discovered Valentino, who was establishing his fashion house, having worked in Paris for Balmain and Jacques Fath. Highlights in the sale include a 1970s couture ivory coat dress (estimate £2,000-3,000) and a 1970s couture coat of red silk gazar, together with a pair of Andrea Carrano scarlet pumps (estimate: £1,000-1,500); a sequined evening bodice, sequined in the manner of crochet squares, labelled Valentino Couture, late 1970s (estimate: £1,500-2,500).
In later years, Audrey chose Ralph Lauren’s stylish casual ‘sport’ designs for the daytime. Hepburn and Lauren became such close friends that Audrey was chosen to present him with the Council of Fashion Designers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992; a letter from Lauren thanking her is included in the sale (estimate: £300-500).
Salvatore Ferragamo was known as ‘shoemaker to the stars’ and created several shoes for Audrey Hepburn at the start of her career in the 1950s. After Audrey chose Ferragamo’s black suede slip-on loafers for her dance scene in Funny Face, they soon became a trend among the New York fashion set. In An Elegant Spirit, Sean Hepburn Ferrer informs us that shoes were very important to Audrey: They were at the foundation of her ethic of quality. If you have good shoes… you can afford to wear simple clothes. The sale includes photographs of Audrey with Ferragamo in the early 1950s (estimate: £300-500), a group of five pairs of shoes (estimate: £300-500), a small woven shoulder bag (estimate: £400-600) and a pair of charms (estimate: £200-300).
BEYOND THE LENS
A monogrammed Cartier evening set of lipstick holder (estimate: £2,000-3,000) and powder compact (estimate: £4,000-6,000), which Audrey used in the 1950s and 1960s
Audrey’s cine camera (an American 8mm ‘director reflex’ camera, Bell & Howell, 1950s) removes Audrey from being the subject and making her the auteur (estimate: £2,000-3,000)
A large straw satchel, circa 1960 (estimate: £800-1,200). Audrey was photographed when pregnant in May 1960 with her husband, Mel Ferrer, carrying what is almost certainly this bag
An oil painting of flowers, painted in the summer of 1969, has an estimate of £15,000-25,000
A monogrammed makeup case in red leather by Mark Cross, circa 1960-70 (estimate: £2,000-3,000)
A blue satin shade with blue lace-trimmed flowers (estimate: £100-150). Sleep masks were a feature of the much-travelled movie star’s life, transferred famously onto the silver screen in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
A simulated pearl necklace with blue paste clasp (estimate: £2,000-3,000)
A Louis Vuitton script cover circa 1967 which Hepburn used during the 1967 Warner Bros. production Wait Until Dark (estimate: £800-1,200)
ONLINE (19 September – 3 October)
Running alongside the flagship live auction (Part I) on 27 September, an online sale (Part II) will be open for bidding from 19 September until 3 October, with the possibility of an additional smaller online sale (Part III) at a later date. Part II comprises scripts & correspondence, photographs, film memorabilia, fashion and accessories, the online sale presents collectors and devoted fans from around the world with further opportunities to acquire personal items and mementos from throughout Audrey Hepburn’s life, both on and off screen. Fashion spanning informal day wear through to evening cocktail gowns features items by Valentino, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Burberry, highlights include a rose pink wool coat by Anne Marie, Lausanne, 1967 (estimate: £1,500-2,500). Further evocative lots include: an American 8MM ‘Instant Home Movie’ Projector, Technicolor Corporation, 1950s (estimate: £400-600); a monogrammed gold powder compact, Ciardetti, Florence, 1950s (estimate: £2,000-3,000); a portrait of Audrey Hepburn by Bud Fraker, circa 1953, gelatin silver print (estimate: £1,000-1,500), among others.
Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn Ferrer commented: “On January 20th, 1993 we lost our mother and best friend and the world lost an enduring symbol of grace, elegance and humanity. We preserved our feelings for her as well as all of her belongings which each signified her life's choices and philosophy. After 25 years we have focused on those items we wished to keep as well as to pass on to future generations.
“In an effort to include all who partake in these feelings for her, we have selected a collection of items to share with her ever-growing base of admirers. We are honored to entrust Christie's with the sale of her possessions and it is with great joy that we wish to share her spirit, through these sales, and their related previews, with all who have enjoyed her films, her sense of style and followed her humanitarian legacy.”
To view the flagship live sale catalogue please click here
To read the initial press release please click here
The catalogue for the online sale will be available soon
Read more at www.christies.com/audreyhepburn