Presented by Linton & Kay Galleries, Marilyn Monroe: Exclusive Collection Of Original Photographs From LA is a pop up exhibition featuring almost 100 rare pictures of Monroe by seven different photographers. We spoke to the curator, Andrew Weiss, the world’s largest dealer of Marilyn Monroe photography.
Andrew Weiss seems to have been destined to work in the art world, as both his lineage and his success attest. “I am a third generation art dealer,” he explains. “My grandfather was a picture framer in New York. I started my career in the industry at a publishing company when I was 18, showing art to galleries throughout the US. Five years later, I started my own business and have now been in the industry for 45 years, owning several galleries throughout the US.”
When we speak to him, he’s in Perth for the opening of the Marilyn Monroe photographic exhibition, a collection of which he is justifiably proud. “The exhibition is historic,” he tells us. “Showcasing Marilyn Monroe’s remarkable transition from Norma Jeane to Hollywood’s biggest star over the 17 years of her career. The collection includes photographs from the first time Marilyn was ever paid to model, when she was 19, through to her last photo with New York photographer George Barris in 1962. Seven photographers are featured in the exhibition, and the photos tell a story of the different relationships that Marilyn had with each of them – whether they were personal or professional.
“Included in the Perth exhibition are photos by Milton Greene, which have never been seen anywhere else in the world. I purchased the negatives and restored them just over two years ago. Every time I view the exhibition, I find that there’s always something new to discover about Marilyn and who she was at a particular time.”
Weiss was able to obtain the photographs through his friend, Edward Western. “My dear friend and pioneer in the art business, Edward Western was an art publisher known for classic Hollywood glamour photography. With New York photographer George Barris, Edward published what came to be known as ‘the last photos’ of Marilyn Monroe, taken from the original camera negatives. Edward then continued to build the collection of Marilyn Monroe photography, working with a selection of photographers who had a special connection with Marilyn. When Edward passed away, I purchased his entire collection.”
Although Monroe passed away almost exactly 52 years ago (the anniversary of her death is August 5) our cultural fascination with her never seems to dim. “When Marilyn was alive, she was the epitome of beauty, and continues to withstand the test of time from generation to generation. She appeals to men, but also to women with a certain vulnerability about her that they can relate to. Passing away at just 36, Marilyn will always be forever young.”
Marilyn Monroe: Exclusive Collection Of Original Photographs From LA is on display in the Central Park lobby until August 15.