ARNOLD NEWMAN (1918-2006)
On Marilyn Monroe and Carl Sandburg

Marilyn Monroe © Arnold Newman, 1962

Carl Sandberg & Marilyn Monroe
 © Arnold Newman, 1962

Arnold Newman did the iconographic image of Marilyn Monroe, which is a signed photo (used for the Louisiana MoMA poster, signed, too), while the images of Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe are vintage prints. These were made for an exhibition created by Peri Alcaide, Palm Springs, California. She was married to Chris Alcaide, and the holder of the Peri's Pictures in West Hollywood from the 1970s. Peri Alcaide was very active in the film industry from the 1950s. She was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and worked to raise awareness of art and photographic memorabilia from Hollywood. In the late 1960s or early 1970s, she created the exhibition of Marilyn Monroe.

”Arnold Newman has earned a reputation as one of the most influential portraitists of our time, a photographer who has changed the way we look at ourselves”, says Philip Brookman, curator of photography and media arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and author of Arnold Newman, a major work on the artist (Taschen Verlag, 2000). Arnold Newman pioneered the development of the Environmental Portrait, a style of portraiture in which the setting is essential: the artist in his studio; the politician in his office or in front of a government building; the scientist in his laboratory. ”People exist in space”, says Arnold Newman, who brings together two major traditions in American photography: the studio portrait and the documentary photo.

Arnold Newman in his studio
© Lars Schwander, New York 2001

Born in New York on 3 March, 1918, Newman began photographing in Philadelphia at the age of twenty. The 1930s Depression era was a difficult time in the U.S. – also for his parents who saw their business go down. In spite of this, Arnold Newman quickly became successful and in the 1940s established his own studio in New York’s Manhattan. After that, things progressed rapidly. He was discovered by photography historian Beaumont Newhall and photographer, gallery-owner and publisher Alfred Stieglitz. Newman’s work was exhibited at the A.D. Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, purchased the first of his pictures. The meeting with Beaumont Newhall and Stieglitz catapulted Arnold Newman into the centre of events. He gained major recognition and began working for fashion and travel magazines.

Augusta & Arnold Newman
© Lars Schwander, New York 2001

I had the pleasure to be a friend of Arnold Newman and looks back on a long series of meetings in his studio, where we always had our tunafish sandwishes for lunch and visits in his home, which was just next door. Midway between New York’s Lincoln Center and Central Park. Special one hot August day 2001 - New York oozed peacefully and with tranquility and everything seemed so romantic. And I photographed Augusta and Arnold Newman outside the studio. It was only a month before 9/11, which changed so much.

On January 20th, 1962 a number of people were invited to Hollywood producer Henry Weinstein’s villa in Beverly Hills. Among them, Marilyn Monroe, the poet Carl Sandburg - and Arnold Newman. It was just seven months before the death of Marilyn Monroe.

LS: You once stated that Marilyn Monroe caused a lot of problems?

AN: She didn’t give me any problems, but she was a very troubled woman, and I knew it immediately, I mean it didn’t take that much time to figure out. What had happened was that I had to go out to California to visit Carl, who was working there, writing the words of Christ, as I understand, for the movie The Greatest Story Ever Told. I made a hotel reservation, but a friend of mine, her producer, Henry Weinstein who was a brilliant guy, asked me to move in at his place. He was important enough to be the producer of the biggest star at the time. And this was the picture that Marilyn had to be fired from, because she would never show up. Sometimes she wouldn’t show up for a whole week. Financially it became utterly impossible for 20th Century to continue.

Marilyn Monroe & Carl Sandberg
© Arnold Newman, 1962

LS: What I find strange is that you are taking some very beautiful pictures of Marilyn Monroe, but in this specific picture looks troubled. It’s in a snapshot style?

AN: We were all making snapshots that evening. And this was a snapshot, as I call it, taken like in our home next door. My friend wanted me to take pictures of her for the movie, but she kept putting it off, like she put off everything else. If dinner were to be at 7 o’clock, she would show up at 10 o’clock at night. She would change her clothes, change her make-up, change her hairdo, everything, I mean this was common knowledge to anybody that had anything to do with her... And she kept putting it off, and putting it off, and I had two different trips out there, and I remember one night, at the first trip, I was supposed to leave on Saturday, and Weinstein said: No you have to leave on Sunday, because I want you to meet Marilyn.

Carl Sandberg & Marilyn Monroe
© Arnold Newman, 1962

Now her analyst took her in. The truth is she was my dinner partner. And actually this picture, lets see, was taken out of the tiniest frame, the tiniest portion of a 35mm that I pushed to 1200 in those days, that’s why it’s grainy, not for arty sake. And it was Marilyn and Carl Sandberg. She was pouring her heart out with all her troubles to Carl. And I was there just taking snapshots. And a friend of mine took my camera and took pictures of us, and I got other pictures.

LS: How many pictures did you take?

AN: Not many, because I kept hoping. There were about 7 or so people at dinner that night I took pictures. I didn't take pictures at dinner, I didn't want to break up the it up, you know, sometimes it's intruding. But that evening I started taking pictures. I had a 35 with me, and I start taking pictures of her, and then she said she couldn't sleep... She couldn't sleep at night. So Carl said to Marilyn: ”I'd show you the exercise that you before you go to bed.” And I have a whole series of pictures of her, showing how to do the exercise, or dancing with Carl. Here he is, this old man, but he had an eye for women; let's face it. Why not?

When she came later on I said ”Marilyn I still want to take pictures of you, do you have time while you are here?” She said, ”I don’t have any time, I don’t have any time.” And if she did make an appointment she would have broken it, if I know Marilyn. And she said, ”I’ll give you a ticket, you come out to California”, I said, ”Marilyn, I’ll come out to California, and then you’ll put it off again. Either we do it now or we won’t do it at all”. And we didn’t do it… And looking at these contact prints I realized, that this was Marilyn.