Marilyn Monroe

1 portrait of Marilyn Monroe

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

Click on the links below to find out more:

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1087 portraits, Sitter associated with 350 portraits.

This portraitback to top

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.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, something missing, or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have any information to share please complete the form below

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.