Tribute Exhibition for Princess Grace of Monaco

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Tribute Exhibition for Princess Grace of Monaco
Monaco - June 14, 1958 - Princess Grace with Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford prior to a charity gala to benefit the U.N. Fund for Refugees. © Archives of the Princely Palace of Monaco.

NEW YORK, NY.- From October 15 through 26, 2007, the Consulate General of Monaco and the Monaco Government Tourist Office in New York with Sotheby’s, in close collaboration with the Princely Palace and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, will present a tribute exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of Princess Grace of Monaco. The exhibition, which will be free and open to the public at Sotheby’s in New York, will feature dresses, jewelry, photographs, letters, video and other unique items, most of which have never been seen outside of Monaco.

These items span the extraordinary life of Grace Kelly, from Hollywood star and style icon to Princess of Monaco as a wife, mother and humanitarian. The exhibition will set the stage for a series of glamorous events at Sotheby’s including the 25th Anniversary Princess Grace Awards Gala and an evening of high stakes and high fashion co-hosted by Wynn Resorts to benefit the arts. Her life and style will also be celebrated throughout October in New York City with dedicated window displays featuring one-of-a-kind Grace Kelly-inspired creations by renowned American designers at Saks Fifth Avenue, and a limited edition lipstick shade specially created by Estée Lauder.

“Sotheby’s is honored to host Grace, Princess of Monaco: A Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Grace Kelly in New York this October,” said James G. Niven, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s and son of legendary actor David Niven.

“Grace Kelly was a great friend of my father’s from her days as an actress in Hollywood to her reign as Princess of Monaco. She took me under her wing when we lived in France, and I was lucky to be invited to Palace events as a young man and experience the world she inhabited first-hand. The pieces selected for this exhibition highlight her great beauty and style for which she is so well-known, and her personal letters and correspondence show that she was open, friendly, interesting and had a great sense of humor.”

“We invite visitors to the exhibition and related tribute events in New York to share some of the irresistible allure and compassion for others that Princess Grace brought to the Principality and that remains today as a valuable part of her legacy,” commented Hon. Maguy Maccario Doyle, Consul General of Monaco in New York. “This year’s Gala is truly special,” continued Hon. John F. Lehman, Princess Grace Foundation-USA Chairman. “The past 25 years of supporting emerging artists has made an indelible mark on the performing arts in this country. It is most fitting that this celebration of Princess Grace’s legacy will culminate in this extraordinary night at Sotheby’s when we present the 2007 Princess Grace Awards recipients.”

Grace, Princess of Monaco: A Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Grace Kelly will open to the public at Sotheby’s New York on October 15, 2007 (ends October 26) and will include numerous items that are being featured in an unprecedented retrospective in the Principality of Monaco this summer. Entitled The Grace Kelly Years this exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco opened on July 12 and ends on September 23. HSH Prince Albert II said of The Grace Kelly Years, “It revives happy memories we shared with our mother, and I hope that, through this exhibit, visitors will discover the many aspects that helped make her personality so richly diverse.”

Grace Kelly is a name synonymous with style, and the New York exhibition at Sotheby’s will include many of the iconic elements associated with her life. A selection of gowns, outfits, jewelry and accessories portraying her signature style and marking important events in her life will be on view. Among them will be the blue satin column dress and cloak by legendary Hollywood costume designer Edith Head which she wore to the March 1955 Academy Awards – the night she accepted the OSCAR© for best actress for her role in The Country Girl. The OSCAR© statuette will be on view alongside the gown, as will her famous Life magazine cover. In May that same year, while attending the Cannes Film Festival for a screening of The Country Girl, her first meeting with Prince Rainier III of Monaco at the Princely Palace was arranged. The taffeta dress with floral motif she wore for the occasion, an American creation, will be on view along with photographs of them strolling through the Palace grounds.

On January 5, 1956, Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly announced their engagement in Philadelphia. Grace wore a shirtwaist dress by Branell, New York, which will be displayed. The beige silk dress was subsequently touted as “To Catch A Prince” after photos were published of Grace wearing it. Accompanying this dress will be her stunning engagement ring, a 10.47 carat Emerald Cut Diamond set with two baguette diamonds and mounted in platinum. The ring can be seen in High Society which was filmed the same year.

On April 18, 1956, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier wed in a small civil ceremony in front of 80 guests. She wore a beautiful lace suit by Helen Rose with a fitted bodice, rounded collar and flared skirt. The following day hundreds of VIPs including heads of state and government, royalty, Hollywood stars, friends and family attended the “Wedding of the Century” at Monaco’s Cathedral amid a media frenzy. Her wedding dress, also created by Helen Rose, was a gift from the MGM studios. Her unique style continued to captivate the public throughout her marriage to Prince Rainier. In 1958 the young Princess of Monaco appeared in the pages of Life concealing her pregnancy with a rectangular crocodile Hermès bag – thereafter known as the Kelly Bag – and the exhibition will include a brown leather version of this iconic bag. A tiara belonging to Princess Grace, which was worn by Princess Caroline on the April 1986 cover of Life magazine, will also be on exhibition. Also to be featured are photographs that trace Grace Kelly’s life through her childhood, her years in Hollywood and life in the Principality. Many of these images from the Princely family and Palace archives give a private view of her life and have never before been seen in the United States. Highlights include a photograph of Princess Grace and Alfred Hitchcock in a crowd at a film screening in Cannes in 1972 and many images with her family, including a touching photograph of Princess Grace with nine-year-old Crown Prince Albert from March 1967.

A selection of Hollywood movie excerpts and archived news clips – including footage of her OSCAR© acceptance speech plus a selection of home movies, made available by Prince Albert for the first time in the United States, will transport visitors to another facet of her private life. Also on display will be personal letters from family, her Hollywood friends (such as Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra) and official correspondence and documents including an invitation to her wedding, programs from important state occasions and gala events, handwritten speeches and scripts. Sketches and paintings of her (for example the Andy Warhol painting) and by her (pressed flower collages), stamps and coins featuring her visage and profile will also be on view.

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