Grace Kelly Exhibit Headed Home

9.10.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

Michener Art Museum celebrates hometown actress-turned-princess.

Once upon a time, Grace Kelly was just a girl living in Philadelphia. But we know how this story ends, with its ups and tragic downs. Kelly, from a prominent and wealthy family, would go against her father's wishes to become an actress. Live television gave way to big screen adventures, including High Noon and Mogambo, which garnered her an Academy Award nomination. Then came the Hitchcock classics Dial M for Murder and Rear Window, and George Seaton's The Country Girl and the Oscar win that followed.

(Grace Kelly in her wedding dress courtesy Archives du Palais Princier de Monaco - F. Picedi)

Then, one day, she gave it all up to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco, leaving Hollywood, Philadelphia, and all of the States behind. Her husband forbade her from accepting meaty roles offered by directors and producers who missed her. Her final role was 1956's High Society. She lived with her Prince and their children overseas from 1956 until her death on September 14, 1982. She had suffered a stroke while driving and later died from her injuries. It was a tragic and global shock.

Now, over three decades since her death, the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA, in the heart of Bucks County, is bringing her memory home with an exhibition called "From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly, Beyond the Icon." Running from October 28, 2013-January 26 of next year, the show includes artifacts, jewelry, letters, and wares from Kelly's personal collection, including an exhibit of the unparalleled fashion that helped make her a star. The show will also feature a series of discussions on Kelly's career, style, and private life. One, a talk with painter Tom Foral about his friendship with Kelly and the royal portrait he created for her, sounds exceptionally interesting.

Tickets can be purchased at the Michener Art Museum's website.

(Dress images courtesy Consulate General of Monaco New York and top picture courtesy Archives of the Princely Palace of Monaco – G. Lukomski.)

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