Exhibition: Marilyn: I Wanna Be Loved By You

I visited this exhibition in the Hotel Caumont, Aix. This is a magnificent old refurbished house in the centre of Aix. It is very well adapted for exhibitions.

The exhibition starts with a video of some of the iconic photographs of Marilyn Munroe. I had not noticed that it was forbidden to take pictures of the exhibition and took this first one before the guardian asked me not to take any more images.


From here the exhibition is divided into five section which follow the different periods of her life and the different photographers who made images of her.

It starts with Andre de Dienes who first spotted her when she started modelling and was still a brunette and called Norma Jeane in 1945. But she was beautiful, I would say more beautiful than she appeared in the next set of images, by Bruno Bernard and Earle Moran, where she was portrayed as a pin-up girl. This was the style of the time and the images were meant to appeal to the young men who were returning from the Second World War.

Marilyn always courted photographers as she understood very well that a good image could promote her career and she was very ambitious. Most of the photographers who worked with her said she was a natural before the camera. They hardly had to ask her to do anything as she understood what was required to make a good image. Among these photographers who made images of her between 1949 and 1959 only one woman appears on the list, Eve Arnold. They became close friends. Marilyn seems to have made many friends with the photographer with whom she worked. She stayed with Milton Green and his wife for example. She worked with the best and most famous photographers but she also made the careers of some young photographers who were only starting out. Among those whose photographs are exhibited are Sam Shaw, George Barris, Richard Avedon, Ed Feingersh and of course Milton Green.

The last set of images of her were made by Bert Stern. There is a very detailed presentation by Stern where he describes the three sessions he made with her.

She was a beautiful and very sad figure. Married several times she eventually died of an overdose. alone in her hotel room where she lived.  But the exhibition, I felt, did her great justice, concentrating on the beautiful images which were made of her and not on the sex, bimbo idol which is often the picture we get of Marilyn Munroe.

There is a review of the exhibition here with a good video.