Behind the Lens

Milton Greene's Glorious Portraits

The legendary fashion photographer's portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and more hit the block.

Milton Greene photographed some of the most iconic women in history. From his close friendship with Marilyn Monroe (with whom he had over 52 photo sessions) to beautiful images of Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Deneuve, and Doris Day, Greene's eye for beauty and inventiveness turned simple portraits into sophisticated, high-fashion images. This week California auction house Profiles in History hosts an auction featuring over 70,000 unpublished images from Greene's estate—"because he worked before modern digital methods of archiving and restoration, much of what he shot remained unpublished," making this auction a strong offering of Greene as a visionary. Greene's fashion photography has been internationally celebrated and presented in publications including Life, Look, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue. In celebration of Greene's talent, a look at some of the photographer's best work coming up on the block.

Marilyn Monroe

Best known for his photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Greene took a picture of the actress in a series titled "Black Cape and Fur." Dated 1954–55, the images were taken during Monroe's publicity hiatus. 

 

Leslie Caron

Greene photographed French actress and dancer Leslie Caron—best known for her roles in An American in Paris and Gigi—in a vintage pale pink swimsuit and woven summer hat for Look magazine in 1954.

Doris Day

Old Hollywood legend Doris Day posed for Greene in a structured lavender dress and a perfectly coiffed bob in 1962 while filming That Touch of Mink with Cary Grant.

Catherine Deneuve

In 1962 Greene took a series of photographs of French actress (and later face of Chanel No. 5 and Yves Saint Laurent muse) Catherine Deneuve. In this image, Deneuve sports a dainty pink dress with a feminine white collar and accessorizes with a pup.

Jane Fonda

Fonda poses nude in Malibu for an issue of Marie Claire in 1965. 

Audrey Hepburn

Greene photographed a young Audrey Hepburn in 1951, the year she held the starring role in Broadway play Gigi. Hepburn and Greene also had a brief romantic stint and remained close friends. 

 

Linda Lovelace

Greene photographed adult-film star Linda Lovelace draped in saran wrap, following her success in the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat.

Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw, known for her roles in Goodbye, Columbus and Love Story, poses for Greene in a top hat with perfectly blown-out hair in 1969.

Barbra Streisand

Photographed in black and white at the dress rehearsal for Funny Girl, Barbra Streisand poses for Milton Greene in 1964. Greene and his wife, Amy, heard Streisand perform and suggested her for the role of the influential Fanny Brice.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor, clad in an elaborate jeweled headpiece and embroidered gown, takes a break from filming The Blue Bird in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg to pose for Greene for the cover of People magazine. When her KGB escort left the room, Greene quickly sat Taylor on the throne of Peter the Great.