Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Auction selling copyright with Monroe negatives
First Published Jul 11 2013 08:35 pm • Last Updated Jul 11 2013 08:35 pm

New York • Fashion and celebrity photographer Milton H. Greene was only 26 years old when he photographed Marilyn Monroe for Look magazine. He went on to take thousands of photos of the Hollywood siren, capturing both her vulnerability and her sex-bomb persona.

Now, 3,700 unpublished black-and-white and color negatives and transparencies of Greene’s Monroe archive are going on the auction block — with copyright. They are but a fraction of 75,000 celebrity negatives and slides Greene shot in the 1950s and 1960s that are going on sale July 27 at Profiles in History in Los Angeles and online.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Copyrights are included with all the material, which is spread over 268 lots, meaning a potential buyer can print images from the negatives and transparencies, sell them and license the material.

"It’s a big, big deal. It’s like selling the recipe for Coca-Cola," said Joseph Maddalena, owner of Profiles in History, which auctions original Hollywood memorabilia and artifacts.

"It’s nearly unheard of in a public venue, particularly for an entire archive," said Christopher Belport, the photography consultant for Profiles in History.

The archive also includes hundreds of production stills of Faye Dunaway during the filming of "Bonnie & Clyde" and Cary Grant and Doris Day in "That Touch of Mink." Among others are Sid Caesar, Jane Fonda, Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Deneuve, Ava Gardner and Marlene Dietrich.

Most of the lots are expected to fetch between $1,000 and $15,000 depending on the number of negatives in each lot and the featured celebrity. But it’s anyone’s guess what they will bring. "It’s unchartered territory," Maddalena said.

Peter Stern, an attorney specializing in arts-related matters, raised concern that unsigned prints made from the negatives could hurt the market. "It’s not that hard to sign a photo," he said.

But Maddalena noted: "There are no vintage Milton Greene photographs. ... He was a work-for-hire photographer" shooting covers for Look, Life, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and other magazines.

Like his contemporaries, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, Greene is credited with elevating fashion photography to fine art. But unlike them, Greene did not commercialize his work. "Only a handful was published," Maddalena said.


story continues below
story continues below

"The sudden opportunity to acquire a large number of camera artifacts from a historically significant photographer will likely amplify the value ... and provide fuller context to those that are sold in the future in auction or privately," Belport said.

The seller is an unidentified American photography collector who purchased the archive about 10 years ago.

The items came from the Greene estate "via a financial institute in Poland that had secured ownership from Greene in a business dealing" with the copyright, the auction house said in a statement.

The photographer’s son, Joshua Greene, called it "a bad business deal."

He said that in the process of severing the partnership, he gave them the copyright, calling it "my mistake, which I regret to this day."

Greene operates Archives LLC , a Florence, Ore., company that sells digitally restored prints of historical collections and owns 110,000 negatives and transparencies that his father gave him before he died in 1985 at the age of 63.

Greene said Profiles has the residual of the total film archive of 280,000 items, but not all of it would be of interest to the public.

Archives’ limited edition prints are all signed, stamped and authenticated by the estate of Milton Greene.

"The fine art market is protected," Greene said, because any prints made from the film offered at the auction would be far less valuable without the seal of authenticity.

He plans to attend the sale.

"I hate to see Humpty Dumpty broken up into so many pieces — 268 lots. I’d like to see it all come back home under one roof where it belongs," he said.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.