Loneliness of Greta Garbo laid bare as letters put up for sale

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Actor wrote to a Swedish pal about her loathe for Beverly Hills and horrors over how her cinemas would be received

The woman in the photographs is nearly unrecognisable as one of the most famously solitary wizards of the 20 th century: striding out on skis across a snowy scenery, chopping records, sunbathing topless, cradling an armful of puppies- it is Greta Garbo, tittering among cherished friends.

The woman who emerges from letters carefully preserved for a lifetime by her friends along with the private album, and now to be sold at a Sotheby’s auction, is heartbreakingly differently constituted the approachable, moderately figure in the photos. They were written when Garbo was back in the United States, despairing over feeble writes, storming at stupid chairmen, scared of the verdict of reviewers, which could be no harsher than her own.

In the 1932 movie Grand Hotel, Garbo whined the memorable wire” I want to be alone”, and she never escaped that repeat. The words show that when she was alone she was achingly lonely. In 1945, four years into self-imposed retirement following the failure of her last cinema, Two-Faced Woman, she wrote:” I have been considering a cinema I might try acquiring but I don’t know. Time leaves its draws on our small-scale faces and torsoes .”

When she was working on one of her most well known cinemas, Queen Christina, in 1933, she wrote:” It’s been a difficult time, everything there is went wrong. I’m half-done with Christina now and half-done is what she’s going to be when she’s finished .”

Most of the words were written from Beverly Hills, California, which she loathed.” I am almost always alone and talk to myself. I drive to the beach and take strolls and that’s always marvellous. But that’s it .”

In the sunshine of California, she missed even the Swedish rainfall:” I have been thinking a lot about Tistad. About summertimes there when it rainwaters and that marvellous pensive enfolds us .”

She saw that Two-Faced Woman would be a disaster.” But since I would rather lead stepping in the country than fight for storeys, it will have turned out like it has .”

Gabriel Heaton, a specialist in Sotheby’s book department, said:” There is an almost unbearable extent of sadness and loneliness in these words. It is impressing that none of these characters are signed- one has’ The Clown’ instead of a signature, a few have stick reaps of women. The desire to remain in the darkness, out of the limelight, is extreme- one feelings there is something extremely, very wrong here .”

The letters were all written to a Swedish countess, Marta Wachtmeister, and were carefully kept in a casket record determined like a leather-bound volume, along with some stalkerish notes sent by an anonymous devotee to Garbo care of her friend, gloatingly delivering on- with many underlines- every bad review.

In 1936, Garbo was stirring dreary laughs about the abandonment crisis:” Dear Mrs Simpson , now her quiet eras are over. She will be pursued wherever she goes. Hope the camera hunters will fright her so much she will leave my prince in agreement .”

Garbo was born in Stockholm in 1905 and moved to the US in 1925, where she made 25 of her 28 movies. She became increasingly reclusive in her later years, and was killed in New York in 1990.

The countess and her handsome spouse were introduced to Garbo through a mutual pal in the early 1930 s. Garbo was invited to a brand-new time party at their castle, and for wintertime and summertime vacations for years after. They stood acquaintances until Wachtmeister died in 1976. The only typed word- most were writes to pencil on inexpensive, slipshod paper- was addressed to the couple’s daughter, and signed GG.” Perhaps you never received the telegram I sent when your mom left us. If you did not, you could not know how deeply heartbreaking I was and am. Your mothers necessitate very much to me. They are interwoven in my reminiscence forever .”

The letters have been translated by another expert in government departments, Cecilie Gasseholm, who is currently Danish but speaks fluent Swedish.

” I expended 2 day shut up in a room with them and the sadness really got to me ,” she said.” Beings would stay their leaders around the door and ask if I was alright, and I would find myself saying:’ Go away, leave me alone ‘.”

The 36 letters, which incorporates more than 100 pages, and the book of photograph will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on 12 December, estimated at up to PS20, 000.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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