Grace Kelly Exhibit at Philadelphia Museum Open in October

Image: Grace Kelly Exhibit at Philadelphia Museum Open in October

Monday, 19 Aug 2013 10:32 AM

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The late Grace Kelly, the Philadelphia girl who ascended to royalty as the Princess of Monaco, is returning home for a special exhibit at the James A. Michener Art Museum this fall.

Organizers announced the exhibit, "From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly — Beyond the Icon," Thursday at a news conference at the city's Hotel Monaco.

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"The opportunity to bring together a comprehensive exhibition that focuses on the depth and breadth of Grace Kelly’s life is an important acknowledgment of her impact on so many facets of the 20th century," Lisa Tremper Hanover, director and CEO of the Michener Art Museum, said in a statement. "Throughout the years, interest in Grace — her compassion, her radiance, her dignity, and her individuality — has never waned. Her hometown of Philadelphia is eager to honor this spirit."

Kelly, who got her start as an actress in New York City before marrying Prince Ranier III of Monaco in 1956, also became a style icon. Her fashion choices made brands and designers famous — from the Yves Saint Laurent's "Mondrian" dress to the Hermes "Kelly" bag.

The exhibit, which opens Oct. 26 and runs through the end of January, will feature personal photos, love letters from her husband, her 1954 best actress Academy Award for "The Country Girl," film clips, home movies, and her favorite clothing and accessories.

Despite her rapid rise to fame, Kelly always remained a hometown girl at heart. One time, she reportedly brought scrapple — a Philadelphia breakfast staple of pork and cornmeal — back with her to Monaco for the chef to prepare.

"She never lost touch with her family and the Philadelphians that she grew up with," Kelly's nephew Christopher Le Vine told reporters at the news conference. "She had her Philadelphia roots with her wherever she went."

Kelly's son and the current ruler of Monaco, Prince Albert II, gave a video-recorded speech at the conference and said he plans to attend the opening in person.

"I am deeply touched by your interest in my mother and her rich legacy," he said. "I hope that through experiencing this exhibition you will be able to get a glimpse of the real Grace Kelly, the woman beyond the icon, my mother."

In 1982, Kelly suffered a stroke while driving and crashed her car. Her daughter, Princess Stéphanie, survived the accident but Kelly did not.

"This exhibit brings to life her real story," Hanover said.

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