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Friday, December 5, 2008

"Marilyn Monroe" (1960; 1979) - 16" x 20" Gelatin Silver Print by Milton Greene

I noticed today that there is a big auction coming up featuring Marilyn Monroe pictures. The Christie's will be held December 16-17 and will feature over 100 images. I've mentioned a couple of times that the items in our collection are not limited to just animation and comic art and the upcoming Monroe auction reminded me of one of the photos in our collection.

I liked this Milton Greene photo of Marilyn Monroe the first time I saw it. There was an unusual quiet quality to the pose that I had not seen in other images. A more mature, reflective Monroe. I thought I was lucky to get it...

Large Milton Greene "Marilyn Monroe"

Since this is an unusually fine photograph, I uploaded a somewhat larger image -- CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Here's some background on Greene (
Born in New York in 1922, Milton Greene began taking pictures at the early age of 14. Although he was the recipient of a scholarship to the renowned Pratt Institute, a heightened awareness of the photographic image diverted his attention to the camera and its versatility. He soon apprenticed himself to the famous photojournalist and wizard of composition, Elliot Elisofen. Before long, his keen regard for fashion and the camera found him assisting Louise Dahl-Wolfe, the distinguished fashion photographer known for her unique covers and fashion pages for Harper´s Bazaar. At the age of twenty-three, Milton was referred to as "Color Photography´s Wonder Boy".

The majority of Milton´s work in the fifties and sixties appeared in major national publications including Life, Look, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and Vogue. In fact, Milton Greene, along with other eminent photographers such as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, and Norman Parkinson, is credited for bringing fashion photography into the realm of fine art.

Although Greene was initially renowned for his high-fashion photography, it is his remarkable portraits of our most beloved artists, musicians, film, and television and theatrical celebrities, which have become legendary. It was Milton´s ability as a director that enabled him to capture the qualities that best personified the real person, making each of his pictures an eloquent, unique statement as he converted his remarkable vision into compelling photographic art. Milton believed that as an artist/photographer he wanted to capture people´s beauty, which was in the heart and to show people in an elegant and natural way. His gifts were in creating rapport in which to allow yourself to be seen, as well as his flawless timing.

The range of Milton Greene´s subjects include such people as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Sammy Davis, Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Groucho Marx, Audrey Hepburn, Andy Warhol, Judy Garland, Giacometti, Lauren Hutton, Alfred Hitchcock, Romy Schneider Sir Lawrence Olivier, Ava Gardner, Steve Mcqueen, Claudia Cardinale, Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Dizzy Gillespie, Catherine Deneuve and Norman Mailer as well as many others. But it was his unique friendship, business relationship and ensuing photographs of Marilyn Monroe for which he is most fondly remembered.

Milton first encountered Marilyn Monroe on assignment for Look Magazine. They quickly became close friends and ultimately formed their own film production company which produced Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl. Before marrying Arthur Miller, Monroe lived with Milton and his family in their Connecticut farmhouse. It was during this period that Greene was able to capture some of the most beautiful photographs ever taken of Marilyn Monroe, recording her moods, beauty, talent and spirits. During their ten years together, Greene photographed Monroe in countless photographic sessions including the famous "Black" sitting.
It was also at this time that Marilyn entrusted Greene with her autobiography, simply called "My Story". It is the combination of the book and Greene´s rare and vivid photographs of Marilyn which evoke the legendary spirit of Marilyn Monroe. Milton also collaborated with Norman Mailer on a fictional auto-biography of Marilyn Monroe, entitled "Of Women and Their Elegance".

His photography won him many national and international honors, medals and awards; among them the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Art Director´s Club of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Detroit. One of his last awards was from the Art Director´s Club of New York for his work in Harper´s Bazaar.

In recent years, Milton Greene´s photographs, prints and posters have been exhibited in major museums and galleries throughout the world, as well as represented in many private collections. Milton H. Greene´s work will continue to be regarded as representative of an era in time, which may be gone, but will always be reflected in pictures.
----- DATABASE NOTES -----

“Marilyn Monroe” (circa 1960) by Milton Greene (1922-1985). Gelatin silver print, signed and dated '4-12-79' by the photographer [Milton Greene] in ink and with his credit and copyright stamps on the reverse, matted, circa 1960, printed in 1979. Seller’s Notes: “Condition: In general this photograph is in very good condition. There are hairline streaks through the photograph and some missing flecks of emulsion. The streaks are only visible upon very close inspection. The flecks are somewhat noticeable but do not detract from the generally good quality of this print.” [Unframed Item: 16"W x 19.75"H] Acquired 1999. SeqID-0418 8/3/2005

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