1950s art

The Iconic Marilyn Monroe: A Unseen Side to the Beauty is Being Revealed and Auctioned off

Friday, October 02, 2015 Mykah Williams

In every era, there has lived a beautiful TV starlet that just simply outshines the rest. But perhaps no women is more famous for epitomizing this role than the late Marilyn Monroe. Even though I myself didn't grow up in the 50's, the girls of my decade still choose to keep their rooms decorated with posters and prints of the original blonde bombshell. My own grandfather has an impressive collection of what must be over 200 photos of the seductress lining the walls of his garage.

Photo Courtesy of sopranomonroe.tumblr.com

So, if you're a fan like the rest of us, I have some exciting news for you! 

Never Before Seen Photos of the starlet are currently touring the U.S, and were even in Chicago September 18th through the 20th! The exhibition was held at The Study Chicago. The reason why this particular collection photos is so noteworthy? It happens to contain the original 21 color separations that were used to create her famous "Golden Dreams" calendar. The photos had been assumed lost for years and will now finally get to see light of day. To top it off, the collection displays the history making nude of Marilyn that not only launched her into the Hollywood Spotlight, but also generated the success of Hugh Hefner's Playboy magazine that would soon make him millions. 

If you're like me, your mind must be swirling with questions by now. Such a how did these photos go unseen for 50+ years? I was able to get in touch with the company that the photos are touring with (Online Picture and Poster Dealer, LimitedRuns.com). In fact, I was lucky enough to interview LimitedRuns founder, Pierre Vudrag about the collection and its unique exhibition. Here's what he had to say:

1. How do you think these photos remained out of public view for so many years?

PV: We currently have the color separations, which are the original color separations that were used to print over 9 million of the Golden Dreams Calendar. These specific images have never been seen before because only the printer who printed out the calendars had access to them.

PV: There are a number of other images in this exhibition that were taken by various photographers all around the same time that the nude photo was taken and released. Those images, for whatever reason, just never saw the light of day until we got our hands on them.
Photo Courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

2. How much do you think they pictures will go for?

PV: The color separations which are being auctioned off as a set are valued at $6,000,000.

3. Could you give a story or two about the history behind a couple of your favorite images?

PV: (The Clown Image) This image was taken by Gene Lester. Marilyn was taking a cigarette break from filming on the lot. Her and Gene Lester were just goofing around with this tiny non-professional spy camera when the unknown person who was dressed either as a clown or a mime recognized Marilyn and asked for a photo. Interesting note…Marilyn never liked to be photographed while smoking…in these series of images, which will be in the exhibit you’ll notice her hand is always out of frame.

PV: (Nude Photo) - This image was taken in 1949 by Tom Kelley. Marilyn needed the money because she was in between work. She had two conditions before agreeing to pose nude for this photo: 1. He had to pay her, which he did. $50! and 2. His wife had to be there during the shoot. Tom Kelley only released 2 of the images from this photo shoot.
Photo Coutesy of  www.doctormacro.com

4. Why is the collection so rare?

PV: We believe this collection is rare for so many reasons but I think the main reason is this nude image of Marilyn. It’s incredible that one picture singlehandedly almost cost Marilyn her career but instead catapulted her to fame, became the best-selling calendar pinup of all time, launched the Playboy empire, was responsible for Marilyn wearing the famous pink dress in Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend and was thought to be lost this whole time. Marilyn transcends time. She was an icon then and she is an icon now.

5. How was the exhibition made to be interactive? 

PV: Throughout the exhibit there are several different interactive elements for guests. We have videos playing which tells the history of the color separations and a timeline of what Marilyn Monroe was doing from the point that she took the nude photo to when it was released to the aftermath afterwards.

It's safe to say that the buxom blonde will continue to go down in history as one of the most stunning, and too-soon-to-leave-us actresses. The photos are currently in NYC as they conclude their tour with LimitedRuns.

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