Iconic Marilyn Monroe photos to auction

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Famous Marilyn Monroe photographs, including her iconic, dress-lifting pose over a hot air vent, are due to be auctioned today in New York.

Christie s auctioneers describe the collection as the largest to come to market. Other works by celebrated photographers such as Helmut Newton will also be on the bloc at the auction Dec. 16 and 17.

The Monroe images include a series shot by photographers such as Garry Winogrand as Monroe laughed and fought to keep her white dress under control while standing, legs spread, over a subway vent.

Also featured with a $10,000 to $15,000 estimate is Tom Kelley s 1949 Monroe nude, which appeared in Playboy s premier issue.

Most poignant, though, are photos revealing the original 20th century sex symbol s transformation from pretty girl next door to hounded celebrity and eventual suicide.

A photo taken on Long Island near New York by Andre de Dienes in 1949, priced at $3,000 to $5,000, captures the fresh-faced enthusiasm of the aspiring model then still known as Norma Jeane Baker.

Richard Avedon s 1957 portrait, estimated to sell at $25,000 to $35,000, shows a different Monroe. A black sequined dress sets off her glamorous sex appeal, but her face appears lost and vulnerable.

Philippe Garner, international head at Christie s photography department, said this portrait illustrates a person in a state of psychological confusion about who they are and what society expects her to be.

Despite poor autumn arts sales for auction houses, Garner was hopeful that photography has sufficiently broad appeal to do well – particularly when it comes to Monroe.

It s fascinating the extent to which Marilyn Monroe … remains a very, very powerful symbol of what happens to a human being (forced to meet) the world s hunger as a focus for desire, he said. -AFP

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