A Look Into Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia With Julien’s Auctions
One of the most famous American movie stars of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe continues to be an iconic figure. She entered the film industry as a contract actor for 20th Century Fox. In 1953, Monroe had a breakthrough with the musical comedy movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She remained a prominent public figure until the end of her life. The upcoming Merry Merry Marilyn Online Only Auction, presented by Julien’s Auctions, will offer over 200 lots of Marilyn Monroe canvas paintings, prints, and memorabilia.
Among the leading items of this Marilyn Monroe auction is an aerosol on canvas painting from Pure Evil, completed in 2015. The piece shows Monroe against a pink backdrop with a repeated inscription that reads “Sunset Strip.” With the use of Pop print colors, the artist draws attention to her thick eyelashes, red lipstick, and blonde hair. The presale estimate for the piece is USD 1,000 to $2,000.
Pure Evil, also known as Charles Uzzell Edwards, is heavily influenced by the Pop Art movement. Often commenting on the ills of celebrity culture, his work centers on “doomed” female icons, from Marilyn Monroe to Sharon Tate. Summarizing his intent, he once said, “I’m not really interested in being subtle. I want to make people look; I welcome the conflict.”
Self-taught photographer Bert Stern changed the course of fashion photography by creating images that did not need any text to convey depth. He pushed the limitations of traditional portraiture, developing a new confrontational style for the 20th century. Stern mostly emphasized the subject’s emotions. The upcoming Marilyn Monroe memorabilia auction will present a photobook compiled by Stern (estimate: $400 – $600). Titled Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting, the photobook of Marilyn Monroe prints offers a glimpse of Monroe’s life just weeks before her untimely death.
Stern held the photoshoot in 1962 for Vogue, placing Monroe in a dynamic environment. During the three-day photoshoot, he attempted to capture her “essence” in over 2,600 pictures, of which only 20 were published by Vogue. The remaining photographs were compiled into a photobook and published in 1992. An edition of The Complete Last Sitting also came to auction in 2019. Bert Stern Productions, Inc. described its significance: “The images it produced project a haunting, almost dreamlike quality unlike any photographs ever taken of the starlet.”
Let’s Make Love was director George Cukor’s take on musical comedy. In 1960, the film released to mixed reviews but is now considered an important part of Monroe’s legacy. Coming to the market as part of the live Marilyn Monroe auction is an original script of the movie Let’s Make Love (estimate: $400 – $600). The film tells the story of a French billionaire, Jean-Marc Clement, who comes to realize his Casanova reputation is being ridiculed in a Broadway musical. He later finds himself enamored by the leading performer, Amanda Dell (Marilyn Monroe).
This Marilyn Monroe memorabilia auction will begin on December 21st, 2020 at 2:00 PM EST. Bidders interested in any of these lots can register to bid on the Julien’s Auctions website.
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UPDATE DECEMBER, 2021: Julien’s Auctions concluded its Merry Merry Marilyn Online Only auction with many lots meeting or exceeding their presale estimates. The Marilyn Monroe painting by Charles Uzzell-Edwards (Pure Evil) was one of the highlights of the event. It sold for $1,280. A limited-edition nude calendar with Marilyn Monroe posters landed well above its high estimate to sell for $5,120.
Collectors looking for other Marilyn Monroe collection sales had another opportunity to bid in June of 2021. Julien’s Auctions offered its Happy 95th Birthday, Marilyn! Online Only Auction, featuring over 200 lots. The live sale celebrated what would have been her 95th birthday. The collection involved Marilyn Monroe paintings, 1950s magazines, prints, vintage photographs, and many more collectibles related to the actress. The $3,520 realized for a muted color poster by Doug Kirkland was one of the highest prices of the sale. It went for more than 10 times the high estimate. The piece shows Monroe posing beneath a white bed sheet.