An original typed letter from Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich, #A513689-12-1

  • Ended:
    13 Apr 13:30 GMT
  • Bids:
  • Ended price:
    $ 35000.00
  • Bidding has ended on this item.

Item title:
An original typed letter from Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich,

Experts description:

On headed paper Finca Vigia San Francisco De Paula, Cuba, Hemingway’s villa
Includes a handwritten paragraph on the back of the second page
Penned “Dearest Kraut” signed “Papa”
Dated August 28 55

Property of Marlene Dietrich,
Thence by descent to grandson, J. David Riva.

August 28th 1955

Experts extra notes:

The first Hemingway letter to Marlene Dietrich to become available at public auction, the star-crossed lovers met aboard the New York bound luxury liner Ile de France in 1934 and commenced what would be a life-long companionship through sexually taut letters of unbridled passion. Hemingway once described the relationship to writer A.E. Hotcher stating that “we’ve never been to bed. Amazing but true. Victims of un-synchronized passion. Those times when I was out of love, the Kraut was deep in some romantic tribulation, and those occasions when Dietrich was on the surface and swimming about with those marvellously seeking eyes, I was submerged” The present letter was written six years before Hemingway’s suicide, in 1955 during the filming of “The Old Man and the Sea”(1958) starring Spencer Tracy. The film spent two years in development and two years in production in what would be known as an endurance test for all involved, wrought with problems and bad luck mostly due to the lack of any big fish or large enough fish to emulate the huge marlin caught by the novel’s protagonist three day battle and allegorically his ultimate test of being a man. In the early stages of development Hemingway was closely involved in the shooting of the film using his own boat, The Pilar, and documented in his written passage to Dietrich where he states, “started OK on fishing – one 472 lbs. and on 422 lbs. very good close shots of harpooning at the end but fish too small even in cinemascope for what we need….” Ultimately the filming was moved in studio and Hemingway left the project due to frustration and ultimate discord with the film’s star. The typed letter itself holds a wealth of promiscuous, provocative imagery and language rife with double entendrés, Initially, Dietrich had wrote a ‘good long letter’ to Hemingway complaining about her Las Vegas show hosted by the notorious Sahara Hotel Congo Rivera. Marlene who would oscillate between her two personalities; one decidedly female decorated with a skin-tight dress of silver in a trailing swan coat while the other a gender-bending female who would sing to audiences love tropes dedicated her many female lovers in a top hat and tuxedo complete with tails. Hemingway’s letter re-imagines this audience- performer interaction, “if I were staging it would probably have something novel like having you shot onto the stage, drunk, from a self propelled minnenwerfer… as you landed on the stage drunk and naked I would advance from the rear and announce that we were sorry that we did not know the lady was loaded.” He later expands on his scene stating that they would reenact the abortion scene from French opera “Lakme” stating “This is the scene which is really Spine tingling and I have just the spine for it.”. Hemingway addresses these two alternating personalities of Marlene - the German male “I rely on you as a Kraut office and gentleman” and the infamous seductress, “I love you very much and I never wanted to get mixed in any business with you as I wrote you when this thing first was brought up. Neither of us has enough whore blood for that. Not but what I number many splendid whores amongst my best friends and certainly never. I hope, could be accessed of anti-whoreism.” Through Hemingway’s words the historical and legendary personalities of Hemingway and Dietrich become reality. While both were independently married, Dietrich to Rudolf Sieber for the whole of her life and Hemingway to four different women, both were notorious lovers to many and known internationally for their sexual affairs. This shared quality is celebrated through Hemingway’s new shocking Vegas show. The remaining five paragraphs of the letter alternate between a jesting and serious Hemingway sensitive to how him and Dietrich are perceived by their two publics – Hollywood/Vegas and the rest of the world. His paranoia about people taking their money and wanting them ruined to the public is evident throughout the letter and one cant help noticing Hemingway profound observation that the rest of the world should remain untrusted. Perhaps the most telling is his final two sentences, “I think you could say you and I have earned whatever dough the people let us keep. So what. So Merdre. I love you always” signed Papa. In 1961 Hemingway’s fourth wife Mary Welsh Hemingway chose the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston as a repository for the bulk of his papers, correspondence and letters to society’s elite, including his letters to famed German actress. It is interesting to note that Mary herself was Hemingway’s dedicated stenographer for most of their 15 year marriage, which begs the question if Mary herself had a hand in writing to Hemingway’s love trysts throughout the years. In 2003, Marlene Dietrich’s daughter, Maria Riva, donated 30 letters and a telegram to the same library on the condition that they be kept private. Maria spoke briefly of Hemingway’s suicide and the subsequent fate of the letters in her biography titled Marlene Dietrich: “In 161 my mother went into mourning repeatedly asking me, ‘Why would he do such a stupid thing? Must have been that wife of his. She drove him to it! That must be the reason… What else was there?’. If their destinies had been reversed, his ability for friendship would have known and understood all her reasons She should have understood his. His letters to her are full of his private dreads. I have them all. I wish his widow had allowed me to include some of them in this book.” Only a few letters were kept and distributed amongst Marlene Dietrich’s grandchildren.

Sellers message:
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Condition of item:
Slight discolouration to the paper.

Item measurements:
11inches high; 8.8inches wide

Experts valuation:
$35000 – $50000

Los Angeles, California

Views 1952

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