Marilyn Monroe was undoubtedly one of America’s biggest sex symbols in the 50s and 60s, so when I was recently commissioned by a customer to paint her I felt a lot of pressure to get her right. I mean think about it — who doesn’t know the legendary Marilyn Monroe?
Marilyn Monroe was working in a factory as part of the ware effort during World War II when she met a photographer from the First Motion Picture Unit and began a successful pin-up modeling career. The work led to short-lived film contracts with Twentieth Century Fox and Columbia Pictures. After a series of minor film roles, she signed a new contract with Fox in late 1950. Over the next two years, she became a popular actress with roles in several comedies, including As Young as You Feel and Monke Business and in the dramas Clash by Night and Don’t Bother to Knock.
By 1953, Marilyn Monroe was one of the most marketable Hollywood star although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death on August 4, 1962.
After reviewing Marilyn Monroe’s career, I decided to paint her in the iconic white dress she wore in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch, directed by Billy Wilder. I felt like it was probably the most recognizable outfit that she wore.
I’m proud of how the chair turned out. It was a great creative challenge and now I can add her to the list of famous American’s I have painted.