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Lot 0136


Hemingway Ernest

Ernest Hemingway Owned and Presented Matador Outfit of Antonio Ordonez, the Greatest Bullfighter in History, given to his best friend, biographer A. E. Hotchner (Identified in many photos as a perfect match). Included with this outfit are the two letters of provenance and a framed black and white photo of Ordonez with a few of his fellow matadors. In the photo, Ordonez is donning the outfit with an additional jacket covering the top portion.

This matador outfit is incredibly ornate and heavy with metallic ornaments. The book "The Dangerous Summer" has photos of Ordonez donning this outfit, but many more are available on the internet and images are presented here. Ordonez was gored during the season of "The Dangerous Summer". In 1960, this Suit of Lights cost nearly $3,500, an ungodly sum at the time. What this outfit is akin to is a game-used Babe Ruth uniform, which would easily carry a seven-figure price tag.

The provenance letter reads:

A.E. Hotchner

Author of "Papa Hemingway"

Westport, Connecticut

"Date December 9, 2019

To Whom it may concern:

The Item photographed below "A suit of lights" which Ernest Hemingway purchased from Antonio Ordonez during 'The Dangerous Summer' Was given to me by Ernest Hemingway, my dear friend.

(signed) A.E. Hotchner"

See Hotchner's book "Papa Hemingway" and Hemingway's "The Dangerous Summer" for details. Hotchner's entire bull-fighting episode is told in Chapter 12 of "The Dangerous Summer" and in Chapter 12, "Spain, 1959" in "Papa Hemingway".

Letter of Authenticity from John Reznikoff:

"December 10, 2019

To Whom It May Concern:

The following is a memorialization of my meeting with famed author A. E. Hotchner on December 9, 2019.

I have known Hotchner, or "Hotch", as he would have his friends address him, myself included, for nearly 30 years. I first met him through an introduction from my sister, who was helping to launch the Newman's Own brand. Hotchner was partners with Paul Newman on this venture. It's interesting to note that Hotchner had two best friends in his life, first Ernest Hemingway, then Paul Newman. His friendship with Hemingway and certain associated artifacts are the purpose of this letter.

Over the years, I have sold for Hotchner many artifacts related to Hemingway or Newman. I have also appraised many items that Hotchner donated, and even accompanied him to the Library of Congress when Jack Hemingway donated Ernest's first book inscribed to his first wife. Hotchner is nearly 103 years old now, and has lived in Westport, near my office, for many decades. The stories I have concerning him are too many to fill a single letter, but I'm certain it's a chapter in my book, if I ever write one.

I arrived at his house on the morning of December 9, 2019, and while not that mobile, Hotchner was as spry, lucid, and funny as ever. He had communicated to me that he did not plan on living this long, and the expenses of old age were catching up to him. He communicated this in the most dignified and respectful way possible. The items that I picked up on this trip were kept by Hotchner for nearly 60 years and represent those things having to do with Hemingway that he loved most. The photos were inscribed by his pal "Papa" directly to him, and the matador outfit was his favorite because he could clearly see Antonio Ordonez, the greatest bullfighter of all time, wearing this very outfit in photographs from "The Dangerous Summer". While it was a bit sad for me to see him let these treasures go, I assured him that I would provide wonderful photocopies for his entire family.

What the future holds for Hotch I am not sure, but one thing I'm positive about is I love that man.

Yours truly,

John Reznikoff"

Aaron Edward "A.E." Hotchner is an American editor, novelist, playwright, and biographer

Hotchner was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1917 the son of Sally (née Rossman), a Sunday school administrator, and Samuel Hotchner, a jeweler and lawyer. He attended Soldan High School. In 1940, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in both history (A.B.) and law (J.D.). He was admitted to the Missouri State Bar in 1941, and briefly practiced law in St. Louis in 1941–42. After the outbreak of World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a journalist, attaining the rank of major. When the war was over, he decided to forgo law and pursue a career in writing.

Hotchner has been an editor, biographer, novelist and playwright. In 1948, he met Ernest Hemingway, and the two were close friends until Hemingway's death in 1961. Hotchner is perhaps best known for Papa Hemingway, his 1966 biography of Hemingway, whose work he had also adapted for plays and television.

Hotchner's play "Sweet Prince" was produced Off-Broadway in 1982, at the Theater Off-Park, starring Keir Dullea and Ian Abercrombie.

The 1993 film, "King of the Hill", directed by Steven Soderbergh, is a screen adaptation of Hotchner's 1973 autobiographical novel of the same name. A Depression-era, bildungsroman memoir, it tells the story of a boy struggling to survive on his own in a hotel in St. Louis after his mother is committed to a sanatorium with tuberculosis. His father, a German immigrant and traveling salesman working for the Hamilton Watch Company, is off on long trips from which the boy cannot be certain he will return.

In 1982, with his friend and neighbor, actor Paul Newman, Hotchner founded Newman's Own, Inc. All profits from this successful line of food products and other ventures are donated to charities.

In 1988, Hotchner and Newman also co-founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp and year-round center for seriously ill children located in Ashford, Connecticut. The original camp was later expanded to become a number of other Hole in the Wall Camps at other locations in the U.S., Ireland, France, and Israel. The camps serve 13,000 children every year, free of charge.

Hotchner has been honored with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

He now resides in Westport, Connecticut.

Antonio Ordóñez, in full Antonio Jiménez Ordónez Araujo, (born February 16, 1932, Ronda Spain—died December 19, 1998, Sevilla), Spanish matador generally considered to be the first-ranked bullfighter of the 1950s and '60s.

Antonio Ordóñez was the son of Cayetano Ordóñez, called "Niño de la Palma," who was the prototype for Pedro Romero, the matador in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway is said to have ranked the son even higher than the father. Carrying on the tradition, Antonio's grandson, Francisco Rivera Ordóñez, became a matador in 1996; he was the son of "Paquirri," who was killed by a bull in Poziblanco, Spain in 1984.

Antonio Ordóñez became a matador in 1951 and fought more than 2,000 bulls before his retirement in 1971. He was married to the sister of his greatest rival in the arenas, Dominguin. In 1959 Hemingway chronicled their ongoing competition in a series of articles for Life magazine that was later published as The Dangerous Summer (1960).

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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Ernest Hemingway Owned and Presented Matador Outfit of

Estimate $25,000 - $30,000Jan 16, 2020
Starting Bid $8,000
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Ships fromWestport, CT, US
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Westport , CT, USA
Auction Curated By:
John Reznikoff