The last great applause to the divine-diva Valentina Cortese

Auction Results | Press Release | Published on 04/03/2022

The auction dedicated to the actress Valentina Cortese ends with an astonishing success...

culminating in a last and thunderous virtual applause to the great diva by fans, collectors and friends who participated online and on the phone from all over the world, leading to totalize over €1.3 million, 100% of lots sold with tenfold prices. The audience’s reaction to the catalogue was above all expectations: from its release online to the day of the auction, it had reached more than 160,000 views and over 7,000 digital readings. To drive the hype of the competition during both sale sessions was an exciting escalation of bids, ending on Wednesday 2 March with over five hours of uninterrupted auctioning. Going through the whole event, the participation was already quite intense and passionate in the first session dedicated to the diva's wardrobe on Tuesday 1 March. Among the enchanting haute couture models, the sales of the creations of the master Roberto Capucci stand out, including the so-called kimono dress (lot 109, sold € 8,750), the night blue gala one with large bow tie (lot 103, sold € 5,000) and the peculiar purple velvet coat/cape (lot 97, sold € 3,000).

Lot 109_Roberto Capucci
A jacquard silk gala dress with a moiré silk bodice and full black skirt with pinhead silver dots
and a floral jacquard silk kimono overgarment bordered by mauve
and emerald green moiré silk and featuring an oversized bow to the back.
The lot includes an oriental style fan inlaid with mother-of-pearl
Sold: € 8.750

Lot 103_Roberto Capucci
A blue chiffon silk gala dress, the front decorated by a large butterfly bow embroidered
with tube-beads like with the bodice and the sleeves
Sold: € 5.000

On the phones and through the online platforms there was a succession of relaunches for the iconic pieces worn by the actress: the dress used for the famous pièce "Il giardino dei ciliegi" (lot 87, sold € 3,750), the very fine Chinese dressing gown given to her by Franco Zeffirelli (lot 72, sold € 2,750) and the Christian Dior sculpture-embroidery dress (lot 58, sold € 3,125). Among the best results, the naturalistic stole with "flight of swallows" attributed to Maurizio Galante (lot 84, sold € 2,750), the piece signed by Mila Schön inspired by the kinetic sculptures of Alexander Calder (lot 60, sold € 3,250), the set of Louis Vuitton suitcases and the various memorabilia, especially the photographs that trace unforgettable moments of the actress's career and her extraordinary friendships. 

Lot 87_A white retro cotton and lace long dress, worn for the play "The Cherry Orchard"
Sold: € 3.750

Lot 60_Mila Schön
Lot composed of an ivory coloured woolen cloth coat and an ivory coloured gabardine
robe manteau with a pattern of large stylised "Petals" and black ramage inspired by Alexander Calder's scuptures 
Sold: € 3.250 

But the first day was only a prelude to what became instead sensational twists in the second session dedicated to the furniture, objects and works of art representing the environments of the star's daily life, a reflection of her alluring personality. Her friend Leonor Fini immortalises her in the portrait with her son Jackie (lot 300, sold € 56,250), in the canvas "L'amitié" - best price from the auction (lot 301, sold € 250,000) - and in the painting “Le Retour des absents” (lot 298, sold € 237,500), honouring the affection that binds them for eternity, beyond life.

Lotto 300_Leonor Fini
Portrait of Valentina Cortese and her son, Jackie, 1957
oil on canvas, cm 64.5x91 Signed lower right
Sold: € 56.250

Lotto 301_Leonor Fini
“L'amitié", 1958 oil on canvas, cm 60x92
Sold: € 250.000

Lot 298_Leonor Fini
Le Retour des absents", 1965, oil on canvas, cm 81x116
Sold: € 237.500

The very refined "lira" clock signed by Kinable (lot 297, sold € 68,750), an elegant protagonist of her living room, becomes another top lot. The unique style and her ethereal elegance also emerge in the sumptuous fountain held up by two bronze dolphins (lot 257, sold € 37,500), in Gustavo Rol's "Timeless Roses" (lot 153, sold € 23,750), in the elegant commode by Jean Francois Leleu (lot 296, sold € 20,000), in the bronze coffee table with hard stones and lapis lazuli top (lot 284, sold € 17,500); and also, in the very fine pair of andirons (lot 258, sold € 18.750), in the French bronze stools (lot 286, sold € 12.500), in the pair of colonial period armchairs (lot 291, € 11.875) and in the silver centerpiece decorated with deers (lot 270, € 10,625).

Lot 297_A 1785-90 French ormolu-mounted Sèvres pink porcelain lyre clock,
the dial signed Kinable a Paris and Dubuisson.The circular dial decorated with oval enamelled placques depicting
the twelve zodiac signs and inscribed with the names of months and days. Two-trains movement striking the hours and half (cm 59x28)

Sold: € 68.750

Lot 257_A fountain with a breccia of Skyros basin held up by two bronze dolphins.
On a marble base (cm 120x135x69)
Sold: € 37.500

Lotto 153_Gustavo Rol (Torino  1903 - 1994)
"The timeless roses", acrylic on canvas (cm 69x89) initialed lower right,
dedicated, titled and signed on the back. 
Sold: € 23.750

Lot 296_A mahogany veneered commode with a varoius woods inlaid shutter door,
concealing a scarab drawer with leather top and drawers. Gilded and chiselled bronze mounts.
Marble top. Bearing the stamp of Jean Francois Leleu (Paris, 1729-1807)
Sold: € 20.000 

“The success of this event is shared and choral - that’s also why it was an incredible emotion. The result fully honoured Valentina Cortese's will to translate pieces and moments of her extraordinary life into a concrete contribution for future generations, through the Mario Negri Institute and the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. All this was possible thanks to the love of the public, who participated with incredible enthusiasm, and to institutions such as the Municipality of Milan and the National Chamber of Italian Fashion which patronised this unique event. We are honoured and proud that the Valentina Cortese auction will become part of the history of our auction house: she will remain in everyone's heart and memory" (Rossella Novarini, Managing Director at Il Ponte Casa d’Aste)

The Mario Negri Institute will allocate the funds raised from the sale to develop a project in the field of oncological research: the "Study of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of thymoma, a rare tumour arising from the cells lining the inner wall of the thymus gland, an organ of our body involved in the regulation of the immune system". The Piccolo Teatro di Milano, due to the close relationship with the artistic figure of Valentina Cortese, has two objectives: "L'Archivio di una diva: a project for the reorganisation, inventory and valorisation of the Valentina Cortese fund donated to the Piccolo Teatro di Milano" and a "Valentina Cortese scholarship in support of a young actress from the 'Luca Ronconi' Theatre School of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano".