As her white flowy dress blows up from the air below, Marilyn Monroe quickly pushes the dress down, smiling cheekily at the camera.

We’ve all seen this photo. Without fail, Monroe has provided the world with some of the most prolific images, and never failed to grab the attention of photographers.

Our Photographs Auction on February 28th, will offer a chance to bid on a collection of unusual Monroe photos taken by Elliot Erwitt and Frank Worth. While there are countless staged glamorous poses of Monroe, the photos by Erwitt and Worth offer an up-close, almost intimate look at the blond bombshell, considered by most to be the most popular Hollywood starlet of all time.

Erwitt was lucky enough to be there the night of Monroe’s iconic moment, capturing a unique side view of her most well known pose. Standing on a sidewalk grate in New York City, holding down her white dress against the air blowing up from below while onlookers gawked and pointed cameras at her. A scene originally staged for the filming of the 1955 romantic comedy, The Seven-Year Itch, and went on to become one of the actress’s most defining moments.

Erwitt’s side angle of the shot offers a different perspective showing Monroe’s playful personality in front of her throng of admirers. He also caught an up-close intimate portrait of Monroe with her head leaning back. This image creates a much more humanized view of someone often viewed as a sex symbol, above all else.

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928). Marilyn Monroe, New York, 1956. Gelatin silver, printed laterElliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
Marilyn Monroe, New York, 1956
Gelatin silver, printed later
11-3/4 x 17-1/2 inches (29.8 x 44.5 cm)
Signed in ink in margin recto; signed, dated, and annotated in pencil on verso.

 

Worth, on the other hand, was known for befriending Hollywood stars between the late 1930s and mid-1960s, and then capturing black and white images that were unusual in a time during which many stars restricted their photos to carefully posed glamour shots. One of his offerings in this group shows Monroe draped over the side of a Singer roadster while on the set of How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), seemingly oblivious to Sammy Davis, Jr. leaping in the air.

Frank Worth (American, 1923-2000). Marilyn Monroe with Sammy Davis, Jr., on set of How to Marry a Millionaire 1953Frank Worth (American, 1923-2000)
Marilyn Monroe with Sammy Davis, Jr., on set of How to Marry a Millionaire, 1953
Gelatin silver, printed later
12-3/4 x 18-1/2 inches (32.4 x 47.0 cm)
Editioned ’43/195′ in ink in the photographer’s estate stamp in margin recto.
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the photographer’s estate.

 

A photo of Marilyn Monroe is not just another picture. She is an entertainment and cultural icon long after her death in 1962. Just as it has been said that a collection of sports autographs is not complete without a Babe Ruth signature, the argument can be made that no collection of entertainment legends is complete without Marilyn Monroe.

New York City (Marilyn Monroe in white dress), 1954 Elliot ErwittElliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928)
New York City (Marilyn Monroe in white dress), 1954
Gelatin silver, printed later
17-1/2 x 11-3/4 inches (44.5 x 29.8 cm)
Signed in ink in margin recto; signed, titled, and dated in pencil on verso.

 

Frank Worth Marilyn Monroe, on set of How to Marry a Millionaire, 1953Frank Worth (American, 1923-2000)
Marilyn Monroe, on set of How to Marry a Millionaire, 1953
Gelatin silver, printed later
12-3/4 x 18-3/4 inches (32.4 x 47.6 cm)
Editioned ’27/195′ in ink in the photographer’s estate blindstamp in margin recto.
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the photographer’s estate.

 

Written by: Steve Lansdale


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