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Lot #736
Marilyn Monroe Archive of Original Negatives, Sold With Copyright

Sold with copyright: a remarkable archive of nearly 200 negatives of Marilyn Monroe shot during the production of Niagara

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Estimate: $50000+
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Sold with copyright: a remarkable archive of nearly 200 negatives of Marilyn Monroe shot during the production of Niagara

Extraordinary archive of 227 photographic negatives taken by Canadian journalist and photographer Jock Carroll in 1952 while Marilyn Monroe was shooting the film noir thriller Niagara. Of the 227 images in the archive, 198 of them depict Marilyn Monroe—others are of sets, scenery, Niagara Falls, and so on. Most importantly, the copyright to these images conveys with the sale of the negatives: when Jock Carroll left Weekend Magazine, copyright to all his photographs was signed over to him. Later, Carroll signed over copyright to his son, Angus Carroll, who holds it now and will grant it to the purchaser. This would give the buyer the right to print and sell copies, although commercial use would require permission from the estate of Marilyn Monroe.

Jock Carroll's wonderful pictures of Marilyn aptly capture her youthful beauty during this early stage of her career—Niagara was her very first top-billed role, and made her a household Hollywood name. In these images, the 26-year-old blonde starlet undulates between sexy and wholesome, playful and serious, coy and daring. In private, she lies in her hotel bed, bare-shouldered, script propped in her hands. She does her hair and makeup. Laughs, drinks, talks on the phone. On set, she takes direction from director Henry Hathaway and sits alongside co-star Joseph Cotten. She smiles for the camera—hair coiffed, hips swiveled—and overlooks mighty Niagara Falls, standing on the precipice of stardom.

Nineteen of these negatives were published in the 1996 book Marilyn: The Niagara Photographs by Jock Carroll. This archive is what remains of Carroll's inventory from the Niagara photo sessions, after many of the negatives were sold by Christie's in 2000-2001.

The archive breaks down as follows:
(19) 55mm medium format color positive transparencies (17 showing Marilyn)
(32) 55mm medium format black-and-white negatives (28 showing Marilyn)
(176) 35mm black-and-white negatives (153 showing Marilyn)

The medium format color photographs are especially dynamic, and include seven outstanding, well-composed portraits of Marilyn Monroe. The negatives are well-organized in binders (most negatives with corresponding modern contact prints), and are accompanied by an original issue of the Weekend Picture Magazine featuring one of Carroll's color images on the cover, and a first edition of Carroll's 1996 book, Marilyn: The Niagara Photographs. The book has a brief essay by Carroll about the assignment, followed by full-page images interspersed with quotes and observations from his interview notes. In overall fine condition.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #578 - Ended March 04, 2020