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Fans revel in auction of Ingmar Bergman's personal effects

AFP · 28 Sep 2009, 13:30

Published: 28 Sep 2009 13:30 GMT+02:00

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A total of 339 objects from Bergman's home on the remote Baltic island of Fårö will be auctioned off, in line with his wishes to avoid disputes within his large family -- he had nine children by six women -- over his belongings.

"This is my wish and no discussion or emotional tumult must come as a result," Bergman wrote in his will of the auction, the proceeds of which will go to his family.

Bergman died on July 30, 2007 at the age of 89 after directing more than 40 films during a career that spanned the second-half of the 20th century.

His Fårö home is already up for auction at Christie's.

Several of the pieces up for sale at the Bukowski's auction house are expected to draw in relatively large sums.

Those include a lithograph by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch of Swedish author August Strindberg -- a source of inspiration for Bergman -- as well as a black-and-white portrait of Bergman shot by US photographer Irving Penn and featuring a personal dedication.

Bukowski's said it was difficult to put price tags on most of the objects, since their real value derives from the fact that they belonged to the celebrated Swede.

"It is impossible to know what the hammer price will be. Because it's Bergman, it's up to the market to decide the price," senior curator Tom Österman told AFP.

How do you determine the value of a simple metal bedframe, but owned by Bergman? Or his simple wooden chairs with pure Scandinavian lines? His vinyl record collection?

But they are of interest because they belonged to the filmmaker, "the most well-known Swede -- he's more famous than the king of Sweden," insisted Österman.

"Sometimes it took several experts to set the starting price, but we think some of the objects will reach two or three times that price," Bukowski's spokeswoman Charlotte Bergström added.

As a result the Munch lithograph has the highest estimated price, at between €32,500 and €41,500 ($48,000 and $61,220).

"The Munch is close to the ordinary price, but its selling price will certainly be higher because of Bergman," Österman said.

The same goes for his theatre masks, marionettes, a massive wooden cupboard, and his Scandinavian furniture. Some of the home furnishings are made by designers, including a 1956 lounge chair and ottoman whose worn leather bears testimony to Bergman's appreciation of its comfort.

Cinephiles will be able to bid on projectors, cameras, awards and letters from the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science for his Oscar nominations.

Even his knick-knacks are expected to draw attention from "Bergmaniacs".

Österman points to a dice set that the director tossed every morning "partly for play, partly because of superstition" in order to see if it was going to be a good day.

Story continues below…

Two objects up for sale are not included in the catalogue because they were added to the sale at the last minute.

The first is "a letter from Strindberg, not to Bergman but that he was given as a present and we found it between two discs," Österman explained.

The second is a simple wicker basket that Bergman kept under his desk.

Bukowski's experts had no intention of including it in the auction, but "a buyer said he was interested and so we put it" up for sale, Bergström added.

One collector's item bound to attract attention is a nightstand on which Bergman doodled his thoughts in an almost tortured-like scrawl, including the words "afraid, afraid, afraid, afraid, afraid," as well as "Saraband" -- which became the title of his last film.

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