Marilyn Monroe's final photographs by Vogue's Bert Stern are set to be auctioned from today onwards
This week a selection of rare Marilyn Monroe photographs will go under the hammer in Texas, shot by legendary Vogue photographer Bert Stern in June 1962.
Commissioned by Vogue, the three day sitting produced the last published photographs starring Hollywood’s sweetheart. Six weeks later, aged just 36, Marilyn Monroe would be found dead in her bedroom, the cause attributed to ‘probably suicide.’
Six weeks earlier Marilyn was full of life, seducing the camera like only she knew how. Mostly comprising of nude shots in the Bel Air Hotel, Monroe substitutes a single necklace – expertly placed – for a see-through silk-scarf held teasingly in front of her. The studio session would hauntingly become known by Marilyn Monroe fans as ‘The Last Sitting’: she would never tantalise the camera lens again. Or at least, that’s the official version…
Translucent and over-exposed, a ghostly Marilyn Monroe poses on a Santa Monica beach in July 1962, only a few weeks before her passing – a whole month after Stern took his shots for Vogue – all golden hues, windswept hair and smiles.
(George Barris, Heritage Auctions)
The photographs were originally planned to feature in a book about the star by close friend, George Barris, who first met Monroe on the set of The Seven Year Itch in 1954. Any plans to publish the collaborative book – entitled Marilyn: Her Life In Her Own Words – ground to a halt just three weeks later with her sudden death.
These unofficial final shots – alongside prints from the Hollywood icon’s final published photoshoot – are now expected to fetch big-bucks at an auction this week in Texas with expectations reaching beyond the £50,000 marker.
It’s not the first time George Barris’ photographs have been spoken about in the last few weeks. Only last month, Max Mara chose this very beach session as their inspiration in Milan for their AW15 collection.
Opening today at Heritage Auctions Texas, the auction – which features six Bert Stern and six George Barris prints – will run for six days until March 15.