Nude Photo of Marilyn Monroe Voyages Across the U.S. in a Traveling Exhibition

That photo from Playboy magazine published in 1953 will be shown to the public for the first time.

On Wednesday, July 29th, a traveling exhibition featuring an original photo of a nude Marilyn Monroe against a red velvet background began it’s voyage across the U.S., writes Huffington Post. The photo was taken by Tom Kelley in 1949.

Tom Kelley, a Hollywood photographer, was commissioned by the John Baumgarth Company, a publisher of calendars, to take a photo of a young actress and model. Monroe received $50 for modeling while Kelley received $500 for shooting photos. In 1952 the Golden Dreams calendar which included the photo was published with an edition of 9 million copies. The young publisher Hugh Hefner bought the copyrights of the photo and published it in the first issue of Playboy magazine. More than 50,000 copies of the first issue were sold. The profit allowed Hefner to continue publication of the magazine.

The famous color photo was created from 21 color-separation images. For many years the original image and its color-separations were stored in the archive of the John Baumgarth Company. They changes the hands several times, until finally in 2010 they were bought for the Messenger Art Collection.

The traveling exhibition was organized jointly by the Messenger Art Collection and an online poster shop Limited Runs. The exposition includes not only classical photo and color-separation images, but also retouched versions featuring nude Monroe covered with lingerie.


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(Photo on the cover: LimitedRuns.com.)

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