Philippe Halsman’s Marilyn at Heritage Auctions

Nineteen large, signed gelatin prints from Philippe Halsman’s photographs of Marilyn will go under the hammer at Heritage Auctions on Monday, November 7, as part of an auction from the collection of Frederich Voelker. Classic images and outtakes from Marilyn’s 1949, 1952 and 1954 layouts, and the 1959 Jump Series, are on offer alongside Halsman’s later photo manipulations, plus portraits of Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy and others. Marilyn also graces the cover of a printed catalogue, which you can order here for $75.

“‘This fascination with the human face has never left me. Every face I see seems to hide – and sometimes fleetingly reveal the mystery of another human being. Later, capturing this revelation became the goal and passion of my life. I became a collector of the reflections of the innermost self of the people who faced my camera.’ Halsman’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe – his favorite female subject – reproduced by LIFE in April 1952 (the cover ‘THERE IS A CASE FOR INTERPLANETARY SAUCERS’) have become celebrated as avatars of the sensual cloaked in the formal architecture of commercial reportage. That LIFE cover of Marilyn bifurcated against a dark door and light wall in a tufted evening gown has become so entwined among the canonic echo of primary images of her, that it has come to stand as the representative image of a woman emerging into global consciousness, confidently beckoning yet demure. As a twentieth-century Aphrodite, Marilyn was bequeathed a sensual innocence within a Surrealistic tableau of armless or legless repose silhouetted against an artificially dreamlike facade: Halsman’s rare gift was to suggest sexuality without eroticizing his female subjects concretely, to depict allure without carnality.”

Among the other lots is a vintage gelatin print from Marilyn’s 1954 session with the British photographer Sterling Henry Nahum, known professionally as ‘Baron.’

UPDATE: The top sellers among the Marilyn-related lots were these signed Halsman prints, fetching $5,750 each.