‘Star Faces’: Masking Up With Marilyn

Artist Richard Bernstein is perhaps best-known for the iconic cover art he created for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine during the 1970s and 80s. He was influenced by the classic Hollywood portraits of George Hurrell, and Pop Art. In 1974, Bernstein made a series of ‘star face’ masks for Vogue, featuring a bevy of past movie sirens, for a story about ‘Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design’ which accompanied an exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, curated by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland (pictured below, with masked models.)

The exhibit, in Vreeland’s own words, was “about the dreams, the grandeur of Hollywood … the idea of Hollywood: Do it big, do it right, give it class!” (Vreeland had overseen Bert Stern’s Vogue layout before Marilyn died, and would later choose her favourite portrait of Marilyn, by Cecil Beaton, for the 1980 book Allure – see here.)

At a time when face masks are virtually omnipresent, Bernstein’s estate is now offering a limited edition run (of 1,000) of two of his 1974 masks – featuring Marilyn, and Elizabeth Taylor – through the Met store, at Bergdorf Goodman or direct from the Bernstein website (see here) for $800 each, as Vogue reports. Packed in specially designed boxes, each numbered mask comes with a certificate of authenticity. (Bernstein’s image of Marilyn was inspired by a Frank Powolny photo from 1953.)