First published in 2002, Sarah Churchwell’s ‘meta-biography’, The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, is now available in Polish.
First published in 2002, Sarah Churchwell’s ‘meta-biography’, The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, is now available in Polish.
Over forty photographs taken by Milton Greene during filming of Bus Stop in 1956 are currently on display until March 24 at the Dom Miedziorytnika in Wrocław, marking the city’s year as a European Capital of Culture. The exhibition includes several rare shots, and is drawn from the Greene archive which was donated to Poland by an American businessman as a partial debt repayment. Andrzej Owczarek took photos at the exhibition for Radio Poland, and you can watch news footage of the event here.
“The western Polish city successfully bid for the pictures at an auction last year for 6.4 million zloty ($1.69 million) according to local media, and the collection is likely to become a major attraction to Wroclaw, which is due to be one of two European capitals of culture in 2016.
It is made up of more than 3,000 prints and also includes pictures of other actresses such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich.
A preview of 47 pictures of Monroe, including ‘Ballerina Sitting’, was unveiled to art and photograph critics on Tuesday while the exhibition, entitled ‘Good Day, Marilyn’, opens to the public in July.
Poland obtained the pictures as part of a settlement in an embezzlement case involving a U.S. businessman in the 1990s. A first batch of pictures of Monroe was auctioned in 2012.”
In January, Newsweek published a special issue, Marilyn Monroe: The Lost Scrapbook. Photographer Larry Schiller claimed to own a scrapbook given to Sam Shaw by Marilyn, though expert readers noted the handwriting was dissimilar to her usual style.
In February, Life published The Loves of Marilyn, another magazine special with text by J.I. Baker (author of a conspiracy novel, The Empty Glass.) Many fans were surprised to see the widely discredited Robert Slatzer listed among Marilyn’s alleged paramours. It has since been republished in hardback.
Also this month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acquired an archive of 58,000 pictures by press photographer Nat Dallinger. His photos of Marilyn at the Let’s Make Love press conference were featured in the Hollywood Reporter. And archive footage of Marilyn was featured in Bob Dylan’s Chrysler ad, screened during America’s Superbowl.
In March, Icon: the Life Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe – Volume I, 1926-1956 was published. Marilyn also graced the cover of Julien’s 90210 Spring Auction catalogue, and was the subject of another magazine special, part of the ‘Etoiles du Cinema‘ series in France.
Stanley Rubin, producer of River of No Return, died aged 96, and William Carroll, one of the first photographers to work with Marilyn, also passed away. Bob Thomas, the veteran Hollywood columnist who reported Joan Crawford’s verbal attack on Marilyn back in 1953, died aged 92.
Playboy re-released its very first issue – with Marilyn as its cover girl and centrefold – in April, as part of an ongoing celebration of the magazine’s 60th anniversary. And a collection of Elia Kazan’s private correspondence – including a 1955 letter to his wife, Molly, regarding his prior relationship with Marilyn – was also published.
In May, make-up artist Marie Irvine shared her memories of Marilyn with readers of the Daily Mail. AmfAR, the world’s leading charity for AIDS research, held a ‘Red Marilyn’-themed fundraising ball during the Cannes Film Festival.
June 1st marked what would have been Marilyn’s 88th birthday. Also in June, actor Eli Wallach, Marilyn’s friend and co-star, died aged 98. An archive of ‘lost’ Milton Greene photos was auctioned in Poland, and a revised, updated edition of Carl Rollyson’s MM: A Life of the Actress was published.
In July, Some Like it Hot was re-released in UK cinemas, winning a 5-star review in The Guardian. Sadly, several people with connections to Marilyn passed away in July, including psychic Kenny Kingston, journalist Robert Stein, and actors James Garner and Elaine Stritch. Meanwhile one of Marilyn’s old haunts – the Racquet Club in Palm Springs – was engulfed by fire.
August marked the 52nd anniversary of Marilyn’s death, with a live stream of the annual memorial service in Los Angeles. Also this month, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn’s co-star in How to Marry a Millionaire, died aged 89; and Tom Tierney, ‘Marilyn’s paper doll artist’, also passed away.
In September, Newsweek published a cover feature exposing the many inaccuracies in C. David Heymann’s posthumously-released Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love. And TV Guide released a special issue dedicated to Marilyn, part of their ‘American Icons’ series.
Several rare photos of Marilyn were featured in Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 65 catalogue, while Britain’s Daily Express published a special supplement about Marilyn’s tragic death, as part of a ‘Historic Front Pages’ series.
Also this month, self-confessed ‘Marilyn Geek’ Melinda Mason launched a new exhibition at the Wellington County Museum in Ontario, Canada; and the chameleon-like actor John Malkovich posed as Marilyn for photographer Sandro Miller.
A rather sensationalised documentary about Marilyn’s mysterious death – Marilyn: Missing Evidence – was broadcast in the UK. Her death was also the subject of a cover feature in the US magazine, Closer.
Also this month, Kelli Garner was cast as Marilyn in Lifetime’s upcoming mini-series, The Secret Life of MM.
In November, Gary Vitacco-Robles’ Icon: The Life, Times and Films of MM – Volume II, 1956-1962 and Beyond was published, earning a rave review from columnist Liz Smith. Fansite Immortal Marilyn published a series of myth-busting articles at Buzzfeed. And Anna Strasberg, current owner of Marilyn’s estate, lost a lawsuit against Profiles in History, regarding a so-called ‘letter of despair‘ from Marilyn to Lee Strasberg.
In December, items from ‘the lost archive of Marilyn Monroe‘ sold for high prices at Julien’s Auctions. Marilyn graced the cover of Esquire‘s Colombian edition, and a new CD boxset, Diamonds, was released. Finally, photographer Phil Stern died aged 95.
Last month, ES Updates reported on the Polish auction of Milton Greene’s photos. Today, StandArt News reports that the archive will be the centrepiece of a new national museum of photography, opening in Wroclaw in 2016.
“On 25 June 2014, more than 3,000 celebrity photographs – many of Marilyn Monroe and some of them never before seen – were auctioned off at the Warsaw auction house DESA Unicum. A selection of the collection will be put on display as early as September in Wroclaw’s Unesco-inscribed Centennial Hall. Selections from the full collection will be the centrepiece of Poland’s first photography museum, set to open in Wroclaw in 2016, the same year that Wroclaw will be one of three European Capitals of Culture, BBC reports.
How these photographs came to wind up in Poland’s hands, never mind Wroclaw’s, is a story with as many twists and turns as Monroe’s life itself…
All parties had agreed with the culture minister of Poland, however, that any buyer had to keep the collection in Poland – and put it on public display.
At the end, just three bidders were on the short list – all of them all cities: Gdansk, Krakow and Wroclaw. Wroclaw, the fourth-largest city in Poland, won the photographs for 6.4 million zlotys, a record bid for any individual lot sold at a Polish auction.”
The ongoing saga of Milton Greene’s missing Polish photo archive has taken another unexpected turn, reports the New York Times. A collection of 3,100 prints will be auctioned this Wednesday, June 25 – on condition that the archive stays in Poland, and that the buyer give all but 100 prints to a Polish museum. You can learn more about the auction here.
“This Wednesday, DESA Unicum in Warsaw will be auctioning 3,100 of Greene’s pictures of Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities. It is the largest — and final — lot to be offered since a successful offer of 403 prints in 2012.
‘It was the greatest auction in Polish history,’ said Julius Windorbski, the chairman of the auction house. ‘From a P.R. point of view and a financial point of view. There were over 650 bidders. The average bidding and final price compared to starting price was 10 to 15 times more.’
Understandably, Joshua Greene, one of the photographer’s sons, differs. Already upset over the 2012 auction, he was flabbergasted to learned that a much larger lot was to be auctioned this week. He said he was outraged that the collection was no longer in the family’s possession and that it was being mishandled. ‘They misidentified things,’ he said. ‘They did not know the difference between a modern day print and a vintage print.’
Before Mr. Greene died of cancer in August 1985, he had named as heir and co-executor Joanna Thorman, a 29-year-old model whom he had met five years prior, and one whom the family had gone so far as to bar from the hospital during his illness. After a two-year legal battle, the estate became the Milton Greene Trust, with Ms. Thorman as the trustee and the two sons the primary beneficiaries.
Greene left behind vintage prints, negatives, color transparencies — and a great deal of debt. To save the estate from bankruptcy, Ms. Thorman hired an acquaintance named Dino Matingas, a Chicago real estate investor and steel-company owner who later admitted to American Photo magazine that he knew nothing about photography. He agreed to acquire the Greene estate, ‘to get Joanna to stop bugging me about buying it,’ he told the magazine in 1993.
Mr. Matingas purchased it for $350,000 without looking at it. The problem is he bought the copyright to the images, too.
While all of this was going on, Mr. Matingas had been doing business with the Polish Foreign Debt Service Fund, known as FOZZ, secretly buying up foreign debt. According to an August 1992 Chicago Tribune report, the Polish government sued Mr. Matingas, claiming he had used 20 or more investment subsidiaries in business dealings that resulted in his being unable to account for $15.5 million in Polish funds. A spokesman for Poland’s Ministry of Finance said that when the government liquidated FOZZ, they tried to recover Mr. Matingas’s debt.
All Mr. Matingas formally owned at the time was a collection of 3,500 photographs, mostly of Marilyn Monroe.
Mr. Matingas could not be reached for comment. A call to a number that had once been linked to him was answered by someone who said he no longer lived there. Nor could Ms. Thorman be reached.
A bank acting on behalf of the Polish government took possession of the prints and held on to them until 2012, when they were brought to Warsaw. That fall, two auctions were held at the DESA Unicum, generating 2.4 million zlotys (about $750,000 then) from the event.
Joshua Greene who runs Archives LLC in Oregon, where he sells digitally restored prints of his father’s historical collections, said he was unaware of this week’s Warsaw auction. ‘If that is something you know about, I would love to know about it, too,’ he said.
He had already been hit hard last year, when 75,000 of his father’s celebrity negatives and slides, including 3,700 unpublished black-and-white and color negatives and transparencies of his Monroe archive were sold at auction — along with copyright — through a website called Profiles in History, in Los Angeles.
The seller, according to the auction house, was an anonymous American photography collector who purchased the archive about 10 years ago, and the images came with their copyrights from the Greene estate via the financial institution in Poland.
‘That was a nightmare that came back to haunt me and my family,’ Joshua Greene said.
Mr. Greene explained he had agreed to the transfer of the copyright to Polish officials 10 years ago because he wanted to end the dispute that had arisen from Mr. Matingas’s financial dealings.
This week’s auction in Poland is very different. ‘We are not selling negatives and we are not selling the copyrights,’ Mr. Windorbski said. ‘We are only selling vintage and licensed prints.’
And they will be sold with one strict condition.
‘We decided with the Ministries of Culture and of Finance that this has to go to a museum or a city that creates a museum that is made up of this collection,’ Mr. Windorbski said.
Whoever buys the collection can keep only 100 prints. The rest must end up in a museum. In Poland.
‘Milton Greene will probably have his own museum in Poland,’ Mr. Windorbski said. ‘It’s quite strange, but we’re very excited.'”
A controversial vault of photos by Milton Greene is now on display at Warsaw’s Gallery of the Association of Polish Artistic Photographers, reports the Associated Press. (The archive was given to the Polish government by a Chicago businessman as partial repayment during an embezzlement scandal.)
The collection, including photos of Marilyn, is set to be auctioned later this year, with an estimated starting price of $680,000.
Thousands of photos taken by the late, great Milton H. Greene – including rare pictures of Marilyn – have surfaced in Poland, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The photos ended up in Poland’s possession as the result of a complex embezzlement scandal that shook the country in the early 1990s. A Chicago businessman accused of cheating Poland out of millions of dollars gave the collection to Poland in partial repayment for the government’s loss.
They have been stored in a New York warehouse for years and only arrived in Warsaw recently.
The Polish official in charge of cleaning up the lingering mess from the corruption affair, Marta Maciazek, said the photographic collection is valued at $680,000. She said some of the photos will go on exhibition soon and then will be put up for sale.”