Marilyn Monroe photos spark buzz ahead of Polish auction

Juliusz Windorbski, who heads the Dom Aukcyjny Desa Unicum auction house in the Polish capital, said a total of 240 photos were up for bid on November 8, making it the largest ever sale of Greene’s photos.

“Until now, Greene’s photos were sold one by one or in lots of no more than a few, but never so many at once,” Windorbski said.

The sale will also be Poland’s biggest ever art auction, he added.

In the black-and-white pictures, Monroe is captured dressed in jeans, fixing her lipstick and hair, eating a meal and coyly chatting on the phone.

Such images will have a fixed minimum price ranging from $156 to $3 498.

“Prices will certainly spike on auction day, but I hope I’ll be able to buy my favourite photo, one with Marilyn Monroe holding a cup of coffee,” film director Bogdan Gorski told AFP this week at a red-carpet launch for the viewing.

Poland’s state treasury obtained the candid Monroe shots among a collection of nearly 4 000 Greene photographs it received as part of a complicated 1995 settlement with a Polish foreign debt management agency.

Other Hollywood stars including Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando also feature at the auction.

“These are extraordinary photos because Milton Greene had an unmatched talent of capturing the moment. He managed to show Marilyn’s different faces. He casts her as a little girl and a sex symbol,” modern art critic Iza Rusiniak said.

The collection was stored in boxes for two decades in New York. They were plucked from obscurity in March and shipped to Poland, Windorbski said.

For the time being, Poland’s state archives will hold onto the remainder of the collection.

Greene died in 1985. – Sapa-AFP

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