Rare Fine Art Exhibit Held In Conjunction With The PPAI Expo 2012 Marilyn Monroe On Red Velvet Series: First-Time Showing Of Long Lost Images
WHAT:: The Art Of The Industry – An exhibit of fine art from a recently discovered collection of rare works created for the promotional products industry dating from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
Be among the first to preview rare works of art used for promotional products, including calendar production. These exclusive pieces, spanning five centuries of American and European art, now comprise one of the most eclectic, private art collections in the United States. The collection includes Americana, pinup, wildlife, religious, historical and nostalgic works, including the iconic Marilyn Monroe photo shoot on red velvet.
The Art Of The Industry Exhibit being held in conjunction with The PPAI Expo*, the promotional products industry’s largest and longest running tradeshow, will benefit the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF). The Art Of The Industry Exhibit is open to the general public and admission is $15.
*The PPAI Expo is not open to the general public. You must be in the promotional products industry to be eligible to attend the show.
WHO:: Presented by Promotional Products Association International and Silver State Fine Art, LLC, owned by Albert Babbitt from Las Vegas, Nevada, benefitting PPEF (Promotional Products Education Foundation).
WHEN:: January 3: 8 am – 7 pm
January 4: 8 am – 5:30 pm
January 5: 8 am – 4:30 pm
January 6: 8 am – Noon
WHERE:: Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Level 2, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
CREDENTIALS:: Apply for Press Credentials: http://www.ppai.org/press. Read, sign and return signed last page to PR@ppai.org. ALL media must have Press Credentials to access The PPAI Expo and related events.
OOPPSS:: Tours, viewings, images and interviews provided by request only.
Call to schedule interview appointments in advance with the collection owner, Albert Babbitt, and art conservator, John Banuelos. (Backgrounders and art list attached.)
Art of the Industry 2012 - The Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Series
Tom Kelley/Marilyn Monroe Story
Tom Kelley learned photography in a studio, in New York City. He worked for the Associated Press as a cameraman, helping the most experienced photoreporters, and was one of those who covered the Lindbergh kidnapping in 1932. He ventured to Hollywood at the beginning of the 30's and was employed by David O. Selznik to take pictures of the stars. He worked for almost 50 years, establishing himself as one of the most important photographers with pictures exhibited in many galleries and museums.1
1 Tom Kelley, http://www.cursumperficio.net/FicheAK4.html. (last visited September 24, 2011). 2 Randy J. Taraborrelli, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe 147 (Grand Central Publishing, 1st eBook ed. 2009).
3 Id. at 148.
4 Tom Kelley, supra note 1.
6 Taraborrelli, supra note 2, at 186.
7 The Days of Her Life: A most complete timeline of Marilyn‟s days, http://www.immortalmarilyn.com/HerLife2.html (last visited September 25, 2011).
The first time Kelley met Marilyn Monroe was on Sunset Boulevard in October 1948. Marilyn was on her way to an audition when she became involved in a minor automobile accident. One of the witnesses at the scene was Kelley. Marilyn told him she had an important audition and, because of the accident, no way to go to it and no money for a cab either. He felt sorry for her and gave her $5 and his business card.
Marilyn never gave him another thought until May 1949, when her car was repossessed and she knew she needed to take action to find work. She was searching through her business cards and came across the one given to her by Kelley. Rather than call him, Marilyn decided to simply appear unannounced at Kelley‟s studio in Hollywood. After a brief conversation with her, Kelley told her that a model he was about to shoot for an ad for Pabst beer had called in sick and asked if Marilyn would like the job. She of course said "yes."2
Kelley shot a few rolls of film of Marilyn in a bathing suit playing with a beach ball. They shook hands, he gave her a few dollars for the shoot, and she left. Two weeks later, on May 25, 1949, Kelley called Marilyn to tell her that the mock poster that had been produced for the beer campaign was a hit with Pabst and somehow had also gotten into the hands of John Baumgarth, who manufactured calendars in Chicago. Baumgarth wanted her to pose nude. It would be discreet but, definitely… nude. She thought it over and two nights later, on May 27, 1949, Marilyn found herself writhing around on a red velvet drape, posing, preening, and pouting while arching her back to make even more obvious two of her greatest assets. The shoot lasted around two hours while Kelley shot a sequence of photographs from a ten-foot ladder. The photos that resulted are extremely tame by today‟s standards, but Marilyn still didn‟t want to be acknowledged as having posed for them, which is why she signed the release "Mona Monroe."3
Kelley received $500 in royalties from the John Baumgarth Company and Marilyn received $50 for the photo shoot. Years later, she would describe the experience as "very simple… and drafty!" And that was the end of it, as far as she was concerned.4 Only two of the twenty-four shots Kelley took that day actually made it to print, as the other twenty-two photos mysteriously disappeared from Kelley‟s studio and were never recovered. "A New Wrinkle" graced one John Baumgarth Company calendar in 1951, but the picture that captured a nation's imagination was "Golden Dreams."5
In 1952, within weeks of meeting Joe DiMaggio, her future husband, Marilyn faced a career crisis when the nude photos taken by Kelley in 1949 finally surfaced. They had actually first come to light in the John Baumgarth Company‟s 1951 calendar, reflecting the "A New Wrinkle" image. However, the connection between the nude model and Marilyn hadn‟t yet been made - she wasn‟t that famous yet, and the photos went unnoticed. By 1952 she was much more of a celebrity, with a few more movies under her belt and much more publicity from the studio.6 The John Baumgarth Company decided to use her photos again, with the famous nude picture of Marilyn republished as "Miss Golden Dreams" on the January page of a new calendar and this time they would not be missed by anyone.7
When word of the photos began to circulate, the executives at Fox knew they had a big problem on their hands, as no actress had ever done anything quite like this before, at least not in anyone‟s recent memory. "I was sure that it would put an end to my fame and that I would be dropped by the studio, press and public and never survive my „sin,‟ " Marilyn later recalled. She had good reason to be concerned as the Hollywood studio system was incredibly puritanical. Film studios such as 20th Century-Fox had stringent moral clauses in their contracts that were designed to intimidate actors and actresses. No celebrity had ever posed nude and then had the pictures distributed to a startled nation. Along
came Marilyn Monroe, posing on a red velvet drape with her breasts proudly exposed. The reaction from Fox was quick panic. Marilyn was called into the studio and asked if, indeed, the photographs were of her. She admitted they were and went on to say, "But I really think Tom [Kelley] didn‟t capture my best angle." 8
8 Taraborrelli, supra note 2, at 186.
10 Id. at 186.
11 Id. at 187.
12 Golden Dreams and New Wrinkle Marilyn Monroe Nude Calendars, http://www.marilynmonroe.ca/camera/calendar/index.html (last visited September 24, 2011).
13 Dazzling Divas: Marilyn Monroe The Red Velvet Calendar, http://dazzlingdivas-ladivas.blogspot.com/2011/03/marilyn-monroe-red-velvet-calender.html (last visited September 24, 2011).
Marilyn was already scheduled by the studio to be interviewed by Aline Mosby of United Press International in March 1952. She decided that not only would she meet with Mosby, she also would use the interview as a platform to explain herself. She sat for the interview and photo session and afterwards, she pulled the reporter aside and told her the whole Marilyn Monroe story. She‟d been using it for many years, telling anyone who would listen how difficult her life had been and all she‟d had to do to survive it.9
"A few years ago, when I had no money for food or rent," Marilyn told Mosby, "a photographer I knew asked me to pose nude for an art calendar. His wife was there, they were both so nice, and I earned $50 I needed very bad. That wasn‟t a terrible thing to do, was it?" she asked. "I never thought anybody would recognize me," she continued, her eyes wide with astonishment, "and now they say it will ruin my career. They want me to deny it‟s me." Then she added, "But I can‟t lie. What shall I do?" Aline Mosby didn‟t know what Marilyn should do, but she certainly knew what she was going to do—and it was to write a big feature called "Marilyn Monroe Admits She‟s Nude Blonde of Calendar." That story was released on March 13, 1952 and ended up being picked up by every wire service and circulated around the world.10
It was one of Marilyn‟s most masterful strokes, and it was basically honest (unlike some of her tales). The reaction was swift and immediate national forgiveness. Not only that, but the sensation of the pictures, her interview, and all of the related controversy made her an even bigger star.11
In December 1953, an astute man named Hugh Hefner bought the rights to reproduce the "Golden Dreams" photograph for $500 from the John Baumgarth Company, to be used as the first "Sweetheart of the Month" in the first ever issue of Playboy magazine. That first issue sold over 54,000 copies - a surprising number for a new magazine with no advance publicity. The profits from this first edition provided the funding to continue publishing for a few more months. Hefner didn‟t date the magazine because he was uncertain there would be a second issue. He didn't know the magazine would become an icon of America's cultural history.12 The startling sales of that first Playboy edition can be attributed to Hefner's good fortune of finding an exceptional centerpiece photo to lure America's males to the newsstand. Kelley's "Golden Dreams" calendar photo of the nude Marilyn Monroe was that image.13
History of the Messenger Art Collection and Marilyn Monroe Photos and Color Separations
The art collection now known as the Messenger Art Collection ("the Collection") was formerly owned by a prominent U.S.-based holding company. The collection was included as part of the assets acquired by another company in July 2009. In June 2010, the division of the business that held the Collection was sold and a concurrent decision was made to liquidate the Collection. The Collection was then purchased by Silver State Fine Art, LLC, owned by Albert Babbitt from Las Vegas, Nevada and relocated to new facilities in October 2010.
On June 17, 1988, the assets of the Champion Advertising Calendar Division of Atwater Group, Inc. ("Atwater"), a subsidiary of Brown & B Acquisition Corporation were acquired. The Champion Line was also known as the John Baumgarth Company, which had been purchased by Atwater‟s predecessor-in-interest, Saxon Industries, Inc. Among the assets transferred as part of the acquisition of Atwater were a Kodachrome photo and several color separations/transparencies used in the production of the first 1953 calendars featuring Marilyn Monroe. The color separations were used to produce the three separate iconic images of Marilyn Monroe featured in the calendars, including "Lure of Lace" and "Entrancing."
This unique collection of color separations were filed away and eventually rediscovered after decades had passed. John Banuelos, the art conservator hired to assemble and preserve the various pieces of art accumulated over the years, was told that one of the facilities had some "posters" bearing Marilyn Monroe‟s image. Mr. Banuelos asked that they be sent to him and he was horrified to receive them via a UPS package with a large hole pierced through the box.
Fortunately, the photograph and color separations were not damaged in transit and Mr. Banuelos cleaned and subsequently mounted the 21 images in OP3 museum-quality acrylic holders to prevent deterioration.
In addition to the Marilyn Monroe photos and color separations, the Collection includes an eclectic mix of more than 4,000 pieces of religious and other artwork, including numerous original fine paintings and watercolors by important American artists such as Tom Beecham, Peter Bianchi, Peter Stevens, Robert Gunn, John Chase, Walter Beach Humphrey, Keith Freeman, R.G. Jones and Walter Haskell Hinton, several original "pin-up‟s," thirty-two Shakespeare etchings, etc. The Collection also encompasses an extensive assemblage of religious artwork used by the Messenger business, a company founded in 1913 by Frank Messenger in Chicago, IL, which ultimately grew to become one of the largest suppliers of funeral stationery products in the country today. This aspect of the Collection alone totals over 3,000 pieces. The original artwork was photographed and the images employed to produce various printed materials, especially calendars and stationery products, sold to the funeral home industry.