Greta Garbo: Remembering Hollywood’s Most Enigmatic Star


 “In a quick turn of her head… there is a manifestation of what Hollywood cannot destroy. In the presence of this mystery all that is second-rate can be forgotten,” said Cecil Beaton of Greta Garbo, whose letters feature in the English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations sale in London on 11 & 12 December.


Greta Garbo


Clare Boothe Luce described Garbo as, “A deer in the body of a woman…” Bette Davis said of Garbo that, “Her instinct, her mastery over the machine, was pure witchcraft…I only know that no one else so effectively worked in front of a camera.” Voted the most beautiful woman in the world by The Guinness Book  Of Records in 1950, Sven Broman, author of Conversations with Greta Garbo, commented that, “Garbo’s face was considered by American photographic experts to be unique: it was quite perfect. The distance between her eyes, the height of her forehead, her mouth, her whole creation, was divine.”


Garbo, although silent at uncomfortable dinner parties (when she bothered to show up) yet talkative with friends, was fond of writing letters. On her frequent trips home, Garbo would visit Countess Hörke Wachtmeister, whom she’d been introduced to through a prince. The 36 letters written to the Countessthat are featured in the Sotheby’s sale are material memories of the inner world of one of Hollywood’s most mysterious stars.


Greta Garbo


Garbo is still the indelible icon. Her image on the big screen, seen by generation after generation, remains eternal, young and perfect. Ever the ineffable celebrity, it is said when strangers guessed her identity, she would simply put her index finger to her mouth and say, “Shhh.”


A collection of 36 letters written by Greta Garbo, together with a group of more than 100 photographs,feature in the English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations sale in London on 11 & 12 December.


Greta Garbo


Sotheby’s is the privileged guardian of the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, which includes over 100,000 negatives and 9,000 vintage prints from the photographer’s personal collection. For further information email  





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