Nude oil painting of Marilyn Monroe by Earl Moran
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Nude oil painting of Marilyn Monroe by Earl Moran

Currency:USD Category:Memorabilia Start Price:70,000.00 USD Estimated At:70,000.00 - 90,000.00 USD
Nude oil painting of Marilyn Monroe by Earl Moran
Nude oil painting of Marilyn Monroe by Earl Moran - Original colorful painting by Earl Moran of a young and nude Marilyn Monroe in a prone pose painted from life circa 1948-1949. Accomplished in oil on board measuring 23 ½ in. x 35 ½ in. Signed “Earl Moran” at the lower right. Matted and framed.



Earl Moran (1893-1984) was the most important pin-up artist of the period. He studied with the legendary anatomist George Bridgman at the Art Students League in Manhattan, and after moving to Chicago in 1931, opened a small photograph and illustration studio. He submitted some paintings of models in bikinis to two calendar companies, Brown and Bigelow and Thomas D. Murphy Company, both of which purchased his work and launched his career. One year later he signed an exclusive contract with Brown and Bigelow and sold millions of calendars for the company over the next few years.



He moved to Hollywood in 1946 when a young starlet named Norma Jeane Dougherty was sent to his Sunset Boulevard studio by the Blue Book Agency. Over the next four years, Marilyn came by once a month for a two-hour modeling session. After Moran chose a costume, the models would assume dozens of poses while he peered through his camera’s 20-pound lens. He generally worked in pastels traced in charcoal from his print, but this is one of only a few oils he did and without a doubt his very best subject.



The photograph he worked from for this sitting was taken by Moran’s wife, and shows Marilyn lying prone and topless on cushions while wearing bikini briefs. As she became more comfortable during the session she removed the briefs and allowed Moran to complete the painting of her completely nude and adding a stylized colorful pillow-like base. Marilyn’s beaming smile is a testament to her comfort and natural demeanor while posing for Moran.



Of all the models he worked with he thought Monroe was the sexiest, “better than anyone else…She expressed just what I wanted.” They met for the last time on the set of There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). Marilyn embraced Moran telling him she loved the way he made her legs look wonderful. Certainly no better endorsement for this fine painting.


The consignor was a Moran pin-up model and a close friend of Earl Moran who gifted her the painting in the 1960s.