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Iconic Marilyn Monroe photos to auction

world Updated: Dec 13, 2008 11:26 IST
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Famous Marilyn Monroe photographs, including her iconic, dress-lifting pose over a hot air vent, are due to be auctioned next week in New York.

Christie's auctioneers describe the collection as the largest to come to market. Other works by celebrated photographers such as Helmut Newton will also be on the bloc at the auction December 16 and 17.

The Monroe images include a series shot by photographers such as Garry Winogrand as Monroe laughed and fought to keep her white dress under control while standing, legs spread, over a subway vent.

Also featured with a 10,000 to 15,000 dollar estimate is Tom Kelley's 1949 Monroe nude, which appeared in Playboy's premier issue.

Most poignant, though, are photos revealing the original 20th century sex symbol's transformation from pretty girl next door to hounded celebrity and eventual suicide.

A photo taken on Long Island near New York by Andre de Dienes in 1949, priced at 3,000 to 5,000 dollars, captures the fresh-faced enthusiasm of the aspiring model then still known as Norma Jeane Baker.

Richard Avedon's 1957 portrait, estimated to sell at 25,000 to 35,000 dollars, shows a different Monroe. A black sequined dress sets off her glamorous sex appeal, but her face appears lost and vulnerable.

Philippe Garner, international head at Christie's photography department, said this portrait illustrates "a person in a state of psychological confusion about who they are and what society expects her to be.