60 Years of ‘Marilyn 1962’ in Lyon, France

Sébastien Cauchon – author of the 2016 novel, Marilyn 1962 – has done more than most to commemorate the 60th anniversary of her passing this year. Following two excellent articles for Vanity Fair‘s French edition – including a survey of her connections to France, and an exclusive interview with Monroe Sixer James Collins – Sébastien’s photographic archive is the subject of a new exhibition, Marilyn Monroe 1962, at the Galerie Cinéma 1 in Lyon, as AFP reports.

“From the smiling teenager with untamed curls to the serious and focused icon on her last shoot in 1962, an exhibition of 60 snapshots taken by fans and professionals traces the life of Marilyn Monroe, six decades after her death, at the Lumière Institute in Lyon.

The photos are taken from the personal collection of Sébastien Cauchon, an amateur who has accumulated ‘more than a thousand’ over the years by crisscrossing the specialist shops of London and New York, auctions and the world of photographers.

An image taken from a family album opens the exhibition. She is alongside her ‘Aunt Ana’, a maternal figure who had taken in the 12-year-old teenager in 1938, when her mother was instutionalised. Then Norma Jeane Baker worked as a model, before becoming Marilyn Monroe the actress, blonde, hired by the 20th Century Fox studio.

The exhibition retraces her career, 16 films in 30 years, under the not always benevolent eye of the press.

‘What I wanted to show was the diversity and richness of her career,” explains AFP Sébastien Cauchon. ‘Often, we have a somewhat fragmented image of Marilyn, a few great roles, a few iconic photos. But she had such an incredible life: she made courageous choices, she set up her production house, she slammed the door on Fox studios because she was not happy with the scripts that were offered to her …’, he recalls.

‘We have, over time, a somewhat distorted image. Many books, films emphasise the somewhat dark or unhappy aspect of Marilyn Monroe’s life. In reality, she had a life very rich with also great successes’.

He chose for his exhibition images that act as ‘witnesses of these moments’. Many photos come from film sets or promotional sessions. Hugely famous during her lifetime, the star had developed an almost ‘instinctive’ sense of cameras, as those who worked with her testified. ‘No doubt it was really very difficult to capture her off-guard,’ says Sébastien Cauchon. Some images, however, suggest more candour, such as a snapshot with her dog taken by a fan or a rare snapshot where we see her from behind, scarf, hat and dark glasses, on vacation in Florida.

The exhibition Marilyn Monroe 1962 is until December 11 at the Cinéma Gallery of the Institut Lumière in Lyon.”

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