The most glamorous icon of the 20th Century died 50 years ago, August 5, 1962
A Las Vegas art collector and owner of the original, one-of-a-kind color separations used to produce the iconic “Golden Dreams” calendars from the famous 1949 Marilyn Monroe “Red Velvet” photo shoot, is offering them for sale. These color separations were originally created and owned by the John Baumgarth Company and were discovered as part of a corporate art collection in 2010. The collection is in pristine condition and archivally preserved and presented.
The most glamorous icon of the 20th Century was captured for all time in a moment of youthful, exuberant sensuality – an unforgettable image that, more than 60 years later, communicates freshness. To reproduce the refined features, supple texture and luxurious tones that were so totally Marilyn, print artisans painstakingly created and corrected the many layers of film needed for the full color printing process to make the original Chromalin color proof – a masterpiece of printer’s art.
The Kodachrome photograph and twenty-one large format color separations (16” x 33”) offered for sale were used by Baumgarth to create the iconic image of Marilyn Monroe – she died 50 years ago, August 5, 1962 – featured in the first “Golden Dreams” calendar produced in 1951, before the identity of the blonde bombshell posing for the photos was known (the model wasn’t identified as Marilyn until 1952), and which went on to sell over eight million copies worldwide, making Marilyn the best-selling calendar girl of all time.
The collection also includes the “Lure of Lace” and “Entrancing” images that featured Marilyn wearing negligees in order to comply with U.S. postal regulations banning the transport of nude images.
The Kodachrome photograph is framed and the color separations are mounted and protected in OP3 museum-quality acrylic frames so that they may be appreciated, when artfully suspended, from both sides. These are the original separations used to produce the large format calendars and the only known surviving examples, which are documented to have changed hands through a series of corporate acquisitions spanning several decades.
When Marilyn showed up to do the calendar shoot at Tom Kelley‘s studio on Friday, May 27, 1949, her need was dire and immediate; her contracts with 20th Century Fox and Columbia had not been renewed and she was out of work. The photo shoot was commissioned by Baumgarth, who paid Kelley $500 for the publication rights.
It has been reported that Marilyn received $50, which was exactly what she needed to get back her car that had been impounded. Marilyn only agreed to do the shoot if Kelley’s wife Natalie was present.
Only two of the 24 images taken during the shoot, entitled by Baumgarth “A New Wrinkle” and “Golden Dreams,” survived and made it to print, with the others mysteriously stolen from Kelley’s studio. “A New Wrinkle” graced one Baumgarth calendar, but the picture that captured a nation’s imagination was “Golden Dreams.”
Neither the photographer nor the 22-year-old blonde actress and model could have realized what an historic moment they were creating. In her contract with Kelley, the starlet signed under the pseudonym Mona Monroe (right). When her movie studio, 20th Century-Fox, first learned that the nude pinup hanging in gas stations from coast to coast was none other than its rising star, it was something of a scandal. The press assailed her with questions. Was it true she had posed with “nothing on”?
The studio’s initial reaction was to deny everything. Studios such as 20th Century-Fox had stringent moral clauses in their contracts that were designed to intimidate actors and actresses. No celebrity had ever posed nude and then had the pictures distributed to a startled nation. Biographers agree that Marilyn was instrumental in persuading the studio that their natural inclination to deny the whole thing was the wrong way to go. Instead, Marilyn used an upcoming interview with Aline Mosby, a reporter with United Press International, to break the story on March 13, 1952:
“A photograph of a beautiful nude blonde on a 1952 calendar is hanging in garages and barbershops all over the nation today. Marilyn Monroe admitted today that the beauty is she. She posed, stretched out on rumpled red velvet for the artistic photo 3 years ago because “I was broke and needed the money. Oh, the calendar’s hanging in garages all over town,” said Marilyn. “Why deny it? You can get one any place. Besides, I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The story ended up being picked up by every wire service and circulated around the world. The reaction was swift and immediate national forgiveness. Not only that, but the sensation of the pictures, her interview and all of the related controversy made Marilyn an even bigger star.
In December 1953, an astute young publisher named Hugh Hefner bought the rights from Baumgarth to reproduce the “Golden Dreams” image as the first “Sweetheart of the Month,” in the now historic inaugural issue of Playboy magazine. The success of that first issue enabled Hefner to continue producing the magazine and ultimately build his Playboy Empire.
In addition to the Red Velvet Collection, many of the original paintings in the Messenger Art Collection are being offered for sale.
Visit the website www.messengerartcollection.com and click on Masterpieces for Sale. For contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
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