After their divorce in 1969, Brigitte Bardot’s former husband kept his house filled with portraits of the bombshell. Gunter Sachs, the billionaire scion of the Opel car dynasty, was so enamoured of the iconic French actress, he once said: “A year with Bardot was worth 10 with anyone else”.Even during the German playboy’s marriage to his third wife, a Swedish model whom he wed shortly after that relationship ended, the stunning shots occupied pride of place in his home.
Now, Mirja Larsson, the Swedish beauty who remained with him until his death, is selling the pieces.They are due to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London in May, along with other items from his extensive art collection, which is expected to raise £20 million in total. Highlights include an Andy Warhol portrait of Brigitte that he commissioned in 1973 – five years after the couple divorced.Sotheby’s estimates that the portrait will fetch up to £4 million alone.And a 1959 picture taken by Richard Avedon at the peak of her fame, will also be up for sale with an estimate of £40,000 to £60,000.Gunter first met Brigitte in a restaurant in 1966, saying after: “It was love at first sight and when we spoke, it was as though lightning had struck.“I knew the minute I saw her, I was going to marry her.”
He seduced her by arranging for a helicopter to drop hundreds of red roses over her Cote d’Azur property.This attracted the attention of the most desirable woman in the world, who later wrote in her biography: “It’s not every day a man drops a ton of roses in your backyard.”Following their divorce three years later, the pair remained good friends.And ten years after the split, he gave her a £1 million diamond as a thank you for not taking his money in the divorce.