The Milan Sotheby's Maria Callas auction @ Palazzo Broggi [shown above] was pretty much the coolest thing to happen in Milan in a while, and OC made it her duty to keep you all in the loop. You can find previous threads addressing the anticipated auction here, here, and most recently here. There were two sessions today to auction off the personal effects of La Maria: Lots 1-156 had gone on the block @ 3:00 pm consisting of letters, documents, and images, while the remaining lots 157-317 went down @ 6:30 pm, consisting of art, furniture, clothes, jewels, and other assorted things. btw, word from the front is that everything sold in the second round, with bidders holding tenaciously to their claimed booty, and even the unsold letters reportedly not sold in Round I finally did sell!
(Above: A shot from the Sotheby's 30 euro auction catalog)
Maria Callas e il suo Pigmalione: Gli anni con Giovanni Battista Meneghini (“Maria Callas and her Pygmalion: Her life wiht Giovanni Battista Meneghini”) had opened to the public five days prior for exciting viewing sessions at the Milan Sotheby’s headquarters, and revealed intimate treasures from the life of la Divina. All the items were sold to Sotheby's by Meneghini's estate heirs, all items from his former home on Italy's Lake Garda and Paris, where he had organized and protected her belongings meticulously.
The first lot began with a 1958 telegraph from Maria to Aga Khan; a letter to Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure (a.k.a Biki), her Milanese fashion designer friend, who created many of her gowns and everyday outfits; Reel 2 reels of Maria’s performances; a letter she wrote to Time Magazine after errors appeared in a November 1956 story on her; a document called, "My Defense" about the case brought against her by Richard Bagorozy and all the subsequent correspondence; hundreds of b/w & color photos collected in albums; opera contracts from 1947-55; two letters from Marlene Dietrich; 54 gramophone records of various performances; jewelry-purchased receipts; a Malibran autograph collection; an autographed Ponchielli music sketch for la Gioconda; 250 opera scores; telegrams from Zeffirelli, Visconti, Toscanini, Serafin; and finally, tons of oil paintings of still lives, lots of Byzantine Christ and Italian Renaissance crucifixions, annunciations, and Madonna & childs.
Lot two began with a marble sculpture of Dionysus; wood castanets given to la Callas by Antonio Ruiz Soler in 1959; complete porcelain Limoges dining sets, and more service from all over England, Germany, and Japan; walnut cupboards; chandeliers; 18th century chairs and mirrors; more silver plates, bowls, and trays than imaginable under one roof; tons of gold jewelry, pins, bracelets, necklaces, especially those from Cartier; Callas & Meneghini's Weingrill 1949 wedding bands; various gold medallions given from all over Italian provinces; a huge collection of gold coins; and finally, her wardrobe, most of it made by close friend Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure (Biki) with and her brother-in-law designer Alain Reynaud, and more gowns by Arnell, Biki, Malcom Starr, Yves Saint Laurent, and Dior.
Now let's see look @ some of the more awesome listings!
(Above: Image of Callas and Meneghini in Rome in 1956)
(Above: Image of Leonard Bernstein and Maria, with the inscription, "For my beloved Maria from her almost-lover Lenny B. Paris, Nov. '76")
(Above: An autographed photograph of Gioachino Rossini, given to Maria in 1967)
(Above: 18th century silver tray with velvet and "M.C." initials.)
(Above: 20th century, four piece set of vanity items in silver, ivory, and malachite, photo from her house in 1955.)
(From the wedding in Verona in 1949, gold wedding rings inscribed with 'Maria Batista 21-4-1949'.)
(Above: Collection of various medals, given to Maria from various Italian cities)
(Above left-to-right: House dress by Arnell, black velvet house dress by Biki, house dress in green nylon, caftan in chiffon by Malcom Starr.)
(Above: Biki from the end of the 1960s, "Callas wore this dress in August 1969, in Monte Carlo, during a break in the acting of Medea, the film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini and produced by Franco Rossellini.)
(Above: "Callas wore this gown in Paris,1965, to a party given by Guy de Rothschild accompanied by Onassis and also at a reception at the Odeon in Paris, in 1966")