Marilyn: The Last Sitting photographs auction for $41,000 at Freeman's

Bert Stern's Marilyn: The Last Sitting, some of the final photographs taken of Marilyn Monroe before her suicide, has sold with outstanding results through Freeman's Auctioneers in New York.

Marilyn Monroe Bert Stern Last Sitting
Bert Stern said that it was only during the shoot that he realised Monroe was deeply troubled

The sale took place on September 10, with the photographs selling in a single lot for $41,250 against a $10,000-15,000 valuation - a 175% increase on estimate. Individual photographs from the shoot are widely available at auction, but a complete set is very scarce.

The photographs were first published in 1982, in a limited edition portfolio containing 10 of the 2,500+ images that Stern took of Monroe while on assignment for Vogue magazine. A further photobook was then released, including a large number of Stern's photographs.

The photographer, who had become a close friend of Monroe's over the course of their careers, captured the shots in June 1962 at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. Monroe would take her own life just two months afterwards, on August 5, 1962.

Each of the hazy and dreamlike photographs included in the portfolio were taken on the first day of the three-day shoot, with Monroe looking happy and relaxed before the arrival of Vogue editors, make-up artists and wardrobe assistants.

The portfolio contains rare naked images of Marilyn Monroe.

"I wasn't out to do nudes, I was out to do pictures. But I didn't know about clothes, I didn't see her in clothes. I saw her with jewellery, or something to cover her a little bit. But it ended up to be more nude than I meant," Stern commented in the 2010 documentary Bert Stern: Original Madman.

The auction once again proves the popularity of Monroe among collectors - see our full collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia for sale.

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