Blonde All Over: Marilyn in Malibu

“I have always said that one of the verities of photography is that there will always be undiscovered photographs of Marilyn Monroe coming to light,” gallerist James Danziger writes today on the Eye of Photography website. While working with the MUUS Collective, which owns the estate of photographer Andre de Dienes, Danziger found an original colour negative from a 1946 Msession on Malibu Beach with a young, and newly blonde Marilyn – the only known colour image from that day.

“This picture of Monroe, shot in Malibu in 1946, was from a shoot intended to illustrate a book of de Dienes’ poems which never made it to publication. Shooting in black and white, the photographs from the day aimed for a soulful beauty. However, this image of the newly blonde and windswept Marilyn has a freshness and a naturalness where the colour jumps out at you bringing the 19 year old Marilyn and the moment startlingly to life – her golden hair taking center stage in counterpoint to her reflective expression. Two months after this picture was taken Monroe signed her first acting contract with 20th Century Fox.”

While the poetry book was never published, this image was featured in Marilyn/Andre de Dienes, first released as part of a 2002 box-set from Taschen, and sold individually in later editions. Danziger, who hosted another Monroe exhibit back in 2013 – MM, NYC 1955, based on rare footage shot by Peter Mangone – has launched a limited run of estate prints of this lovely portrait by ‘master printer’ Gabe Greenberg. The 30 x 24” is $7,500 and the 20 x 16” is $4,500. For more info, contact the Danziger Gallery here – and if these prices are beyond your means, let’s hope a full De Dienes retrospective will follow at Danziger’s New York or Los Angeles galleries in the near future.