NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM ORIGINAL TRANSPARENCIES OF MARILYN MONROE DEBUTS ON THE WEST COAST
MARILYN MONROE: THE MAKING OF A LEGEND
Opening: July 25th, 2015 from 6:00-9:00 pm
On view through September 5, 2015
(SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA)—Andrew Weiss Gallery is pleased to present Marilyn Monroe: The Making of a Legend, opening Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 6:00-9:00 pm. The gallery holds the world's largest archive of Marilyn Monroe original photography and this exhibition showcases works by 7 renowned photographers spanning the icon's brief 17 year career--from her very first professional assignment in 1945 with William Carroll, to the last photographs taken of Monroe in 1962 by George Barris. The exhibition also highlights incredible works by Milton Greene, seen for the first time in 2015 and making their West Coast debut after being locked away and unpublished for over 50 years until Andrew Weiss Gallery acquired the rights.
Milton Greene first encountered Marilyn Monroe on assignment for Look magazine in 1953. When the 26 year old Greene sent her proofs from their first sitting, “She responded with two dozen roses and called to say they were the most beautiful pictures she had ever seen.” Greene became Monroe’s confidante and mentor. Together they formed Marilyn Monroe Productions, which resulted in "Bus Stop" and "The Prince and the Showgirl."
The exhibition captures a wide variety of moments in the life of Marilyn Monroe, from the undiscovered young woman to the Hollywood icon she became. Along with works by George Barris, Milton Greene, and William Carroll, the exhibition includes photographs by Kashio Aoki, a Pan Am steward who took photos on board of Monroe and her newlywed husband Joe DiMaggio as well as stunning works by Andre de Dienes, Bert Stern, and Lazlo Willinger.
Alongside the historic photographs of Marilyn Monroe, with his Historical Fiction works, photographer Tyler Shields creates his own narrative of the impact of the passing of Marilyn Monroe, featuring several of today’s rising and established stars such as Abigail Breslin, Nathan Fillion, Natalie Alyn Lind, Grant Gustin, and Danielle Panabaker.
Andrew Weiss on the photographers in the exhibition and their relationships to Marilyn Monroe, in chronological order:
Carroll was the first photographer to pay Norma Jeane Mortenson (Marilyn Monroe) for modeling. He was creating a display card to promote his business and he liked her wholesome girl next-door manner. He picked her up at her apartment in West Los Angeles and drove up PCH to Castle Rock, where they spent the day shooting. She brought her own clothes and did her own makeup and hair. She was paid $20, which is the equivalent of about $250 today.
Andres de Dienes
On August 2, 1945 Norma Jeane Mortenson (Marilyn Monroe) signed with the Bluebook Modeling Agency in Los Angeles and within a year had 33 covers in her portfolio. Andres was already a well-known photographer. He called the agency looking for a model for figure studies and while Norma Jeane didn’t commit, since this was practically considered pornography at this time, she did agree to meet with de Dienes. They had instant chemistry and although she was married, took off with de Dienes on a road trip for a month. It was not too long after that she started her transformation into Marilyn. They met up again in New York in 1946 as she was beginning her film career and she asked him to photograph her. They went to Tobey Beach on Long Island and the beach was packed until suddenly storm clouds gathered, looking like a rain storm was coming. In minutes, the beach was deserted. They waited it out, the sun came back, and they had the beach to themselves where they proceeded to shoot.
Lazlo Willinger photographed Marilyn in 1948. This was when the studio executives started investing in her looks; lightening her hair, having her hairline raised, her bite corrected and teeth whitened. Willinger was a premiere Hollywood glamour photographer.
Milton Greene and Marilyn Monroe had a wonderful working relationship as well as deep friendship. They started a production company together in 1955 after Greene’s attorneys found loopholes in her contract with 20th Century Fox where she felt she was being exploited. She spent a great amount of time at the home of the Greene family in Connecticut, and the first photographic session between the two took place March 28, 1953.
Along with other eminent photographers such as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, and Norman Parkinson, Milton Greene is credited for bringing fashion photography into the realm of fine art.
Aoki was a steward aboard the Pan American flight the newlywed Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio were flying for a combination honeymoon and promotion for the Japanese baseball season. When they were leaving, there had been so many photographers and the press hounding them they refused to cooperate with anyone, leaving 250 photographers standing outside at the airport. On board the place was Aoki, who asked a favor, if he could take their photographs with his personal camera. They allowed him to do so, DiMaggio begrudgingly, and the roll of film sat undeveloped for almost 50 years.
Their infamous photoshoot at the Bel Air Hotel. There is a very entertaining story in Bert Stern’s book about his trip out to LA to shoot Marilyn for Vogue. Suffice to say the room was stocked with her favorite red wine and champagne and only accessories for wardrobe. Marilyn went from clothed to nude in the course of the entire evening and the shots are some of the most amazing ever. Unfortunately Vogue didn’t agree, and they had to reshoot the entire session, this time with hair, make-up and wardrobe people. These photos were taken 6 weeks before her death.
George Barris was an experienced photojournalist hired by Cosmopolitan to shoot and interview Marilyn after her dismissal from “Something’s Gotta Give.” He pitched the idea of a book so she could tell her side of the story and she was very excited about a new start. The photos were relaxed and beautiful, taken at the Hollywood Hills home of Tim Leimert and at the beach in Santa Monica, CA. These photos were taken two weeks before her death.
Tyler Shields is a Los Angeles-based photographer known for his provocative and sometimes controversial work. Shields was born in 1982 in Jacksonville, Florida. He began his photography career there in 2003 and published his first book just two years later. Tyler Shields has had over twenty solo exhibitions worldwide.
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