Stern Heirs Fight for Marilyn Photos in Court Case

Marilyn’s image is caught up in yet another legal dispute after Bert Stern’s widow sued his heirs (with whom he had worked for many years and was also romantically involved, according to the New York Post) for the right to his work, reports ABC News. And as Courthouse News Service reports, the heirs’ online sales of ‘bedazzled’ versions of Stern’s photos have also raised questions of authorship.

“A federal judge (Paul Engelmayer) in New York ruled Friday that Stern’s heirs are the rightful owners of the copyright interests in the ‘Last Sitting’ photographs.

The issue arose in a lawsuit Stern’s widow, Shannah Laumeister Stern, filed against Lisa and Lynette Lavender, twin sisters who were Stern’s assistants. The lawsuit claimed copyright infringement involving the reproduction and online sale of modified versions of certain Monroe images.

The Lavenders counter-sued, claiming Stern never owned the rights to the photographs.

Instead the sisters said the copyright belonged to Conde Nast, which hired Stern to photograph Monroe for Vogue. The Lavenders also claimed Stern authorized them to make, modify and sell copies of Monroe photographs following his death.

The judge found that Stern was, and his heirs are, the rightful owners of the copyright to the photographs. Whether the Lavender sisters infringed the judge said will have to be decided at trial.”

Pop Artist Captures Marilyn’s ‘Faded Glory’

Marilyn is among several Hollywood icons portrayed in ‘Faded Glory’, a new exhibition from artist Nicholas Reddyhoff at 54 The Gallery in London’s Shepherd Market from April 16-22. MM fans will recognise that his portrait is based on a photo from her 1962 session with Bert Stern. Nicholas spoke about his work with Sarah Juggins for Lynn News.

“I have tried to capture these incredibly well-known people in less than obvious poses. For example, the image of Marilyn Monroe really shows the haunted look she had in her eyes later in her life. We always think of her as voluptuous and cheeky, but here she looks thin and almost haunted. I think beauty fades more rapidly the more beautiful you are, but all of these characters had a presence and a quality that was undefinable but always seductive.”

Halsman, Stern’s Marilyn in New York

Marilyn is at the centre of an exhibition of some of the world’s most iconic photographs, on display in Manhattan until May 25, as Carl Glassman reports for Tribeca Trib.

“If only size mattered, then Marilyn Monroe would be the star of this eclectic display of photographs, simply titled ‘Photo Show,’ now at the Hal Bromm Gallery. Upon entering the Tribeca art space, she greets you nearly from floor to ceiling in 10 poses, wearing that come-hither look and little else. The set of framed color photographs, faded into reddish hues, is from Bert Stern’s famed 1962 series, ‘The Last Sitting’ … While Marilyn may be the show’s dominant presence, she is just the opener in an unusual mix of artists and eras that come together in a logic all its own.

Others include … Philippe Halsman, represented by his own famous—maybe the most famous—Marilyn portrait.”

Meanwhile at Christie’s NYC, ‘Crucifix IV’, a chromogenic print by Stern from 1995, is among the lots from the Yamakawa Collection, to be auctioned on April 6.

Dior Moments: Marilyn’s Black Dress

Marilyn’s 1962 photo-shoot with Bert Stern for Vogue, in which she wore a black Christian Dior dress, is listed among the legendary fashion house’s top five ‘life-changing moments’ by Justin Gray on Yohomo.

“Can you think of a better combo? Marilyn Monroe … wearing this backless black Dior dress designed by Marc Bohan. The haunting photos, shot by Bert Stern for Vogue, just show the beauty of the fabric clinging to her back allowing the light to dance off her shoulder blades and pull the viewers eye up to her face.  The tailoring and the fit of the piece appear as effortless as Marilyn’s beauty, but hide so much complexity in the seaming and the construction. This is one of those perfect moments when an artist and a muse find each other.”

Stern’s Marilyn Sold at Doyle’s

This large digital print by Bert Stern – complete with Marilyn’s mark of disapproval – was sold today for $3,750 at Doyle’s of New York. The photographic auction included three other classic Stern/Monroe prints, one of which (also marked by Marilyn) went unsold.

Unveiling Marilyn’s Beautiful Scars

Surgical scars can be seen on Marilyn’s tummy in two of her final photo shoots, with George Barris (left) and Bert Stern (right), and in her ‘nude’ swim scene for the unfinished Something’s Got to Give, as Mehera Bonner reports for Marie-Claire. Marilyn underwent an appendectomy in 1952, and had her gallbladder removed in 1961, a year before she died. She also underwent several operations to alleviate her endometriosis and help her to have children, sadly without success. While surgical procedures are considerably more sophisticated today, our expectations have also increased. While there’s something rather liberating about these gorgeous, unaltered shots, it’s also important to remember that Marilyn – who exerted rigid control over her photo shoots, if not her movies – may herself have wanted to airbrush these photos had she lived long enough to fully review them. In fact, she vetoed many of Stern’s images, marking the rejects with an orange ‘X’; but after her death, he published the session in its entirety.

Now you see her, now you don’t: Marilyn in ‘Something’s Got to Give’

“Though she was famous for her perceived ‘perfection’ and ‘flawlessness’ (all the eye-rolls at the inherent sexism that goes into these terms), Marilyn Monroe had a pretty big scar across her stomach—which appears in both the Last Sitting and in Something’s Got to Give.

The scar itself is the result of gallbladder surgery that occurred before Stern’s famous images were taken. He says Marilyn was self-conscious about it, and called upon her hairdresser George [Masters] for reassurance before shooting. When Stern noticed the scar, he reportedly remembered Diana Vreeland saying to him, ‘I think there’s nothing duller than a smooth, perfect-skinned woman. A woman is beautiful by her scars.’

Diana Vreeland is right: women *are* beautiful with scars. But she’s also incorrect about women without them being dull. Either way, the sometimes-removal of Marilyn’s scar offers a fascinating insight into beauty standards in Old Hollywood—did she ever truly have agency as to how her body was portrayed?

Ironically, Something’s Got to Give was the first time Monroe was ‘allowed’ to expose her belly button on film—as most of her previous swimwear moments were high-waisted. Before her death, she’s said to have quipped ‘I guess the censors are willing to recognize that everybody has a navel.’

Guess what? Everyone has scars too—even Marilyn.”

Stern’s ‘Avant Garde’ Marilyn in Paris

Bert Stern’s ‘avant garde’ 1962 photo shoot with Marilyn is featured in a new exhibition at the DS World car showroom in Paris. (The photo above shows Marilyn’s scar after gallbladder surgery.)

“DS World Paris is hosting the ‘Marilyn, The Last Sitting’ exhibition from 8 June 2017 to 6 January 2018.

The session took place in Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles in 1962 over two days and one night, consisting of three long photo shoots by Bert Stern for Vogue magazine. The photographer took a total 2,571 pictures; the 59 most emblematic are on show at DS World Paris.

For Julien Faux, Director of DS World Paris, the exhibition is ‘a way of keeping alive the legend of this extraordinary woman, who was ahead of her time. It is also a perfect opportunity for drawing parallels between the timelessness of this artist, who has since become an icon, with the spirit of avant-garde of the current models in the DS collection, descended directly from the DS, another icon of the 20th century.’

The exhibition is showing at DS World Paris at 33 rue François 1 in Paris. Free admission.”

Thanks to Eric Patry