Marilyn Monroe

1 portrait

Marilyn Monroe, by Cecil Beaton, 22 February 1956 - NPG x40277 - © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby's London

© Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby's London

Marilyn Monroe

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 22 February 1956
10 3/4 in. x 10 5/8 in. (272 mm x 269 mm)
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1991
Photographs Collection
NPG x40277

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  • Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1083 portraits, Sitter associated with 350 portraits.

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Although associated with Vogue though most of his career, Beaton's Monroe portfolio appeared in Harper's Bazaar, for whom he worked in the mid 1950s. It was whilst in New York for the rehearsals and premiere of My Fair Lady that Beaton photographed Monroe. With a possibility that he would be the designer of Monroe's dresses for The Prince and The Showgirl, Beaton arranged a photography sitting in his suite in the Ambassador Hotel on 22 February 1956. Despite being over an hour late ‘She was instantly forgiven for she has a completely disarming, childlike freshness and ingenuity and her mischief is irresistible'. Ed Pfizenmaier, Beaton's assistant, noted that Monroe did her own make-up and ‘came just by herself, with these two little dresses... it was as simple as that.' Beaton recalled ‘She romps, she squeals with delight, she leaps on the sofa. She puts a flower stem in her mouth... It is an artless, impromptu, high-spirited, infectiously gay performance. It will probably end in tears.' The session produced one of Monroe's favourite portraits (a variant of this) which hung in her New York apartment that she shared with her third husband Arthur Miller.

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