Related News

Home » World

Marcel Marceau's top hat hits Paris auction blocks

MARCEL Marceau's top hat hits Paris auction blocks

Marcel Marceau's battered top hat, embellished with a single red flower, goes up for auction this week in a Paris sale of more than 900 personal objects and souvenirs that once belonged to globally celebrated mime.

A white sailor suit with a striped shirt and snug-fitting jacket - Marceau's signature costume - is also among the lots to be dispersed Tuesday and Wednesday by Drouot Richelieu auction house.

Marceau's daughter, Camille, said she organized the auction in a last-ditch attempt to settle her late father's outstanding debts. In a statement, Drouot Richelieu said Marceau, who died in 2007 at age 84, racked up steep debts over the years to finance his show.

"This auction is a real heartbreaker," Camille Marceau told The Associated Press. "We tried everything not to have to resort to this, in vain."

Auctioneer Rodolphe Tessier, who is to officiate at the sale, said the family had hoped to turn Marceau's souvenir-filled home in Bercheres-sur-Vesgre, a town west of Paris, into a museum but were saddled with too much debt.

The hat, in worn burlap, is estimated at 1,000-1,500 euro (US$1,400-2,100), while the sailor suit is expected to fetch 1,500-2,000 euro. A wind-up figurine of a turbaned fortuneteller dating from the late 19th century is estimated at 7,000-9,000 euro.

Other highlights of the sale include snapshots of the French mime with celebrities and statesmen from Michael Jackson to Bill Clinton and an ink-on-paper self-portrait.

The sale is expected to raise some 300,000 euro in total.

A French Jew who escaped deportation to a Nazi death camp during World War II, Marceau revived the art of mime, which dates to antiquity, and brought it to an international stage.

Over his decades-long career, Marceau gave life to a wide spectrum of characters, from a peevish waiter to a lion tamer to an old woman knitting and the best-known, his alter-ego, Bip. His face covered in white paint, he used his pliant facial expressions to convey the gamut of human emotions, often with his raggedy top hat as his sole prop.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend