Marilyn at Malibu

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Every morning I read Google News. One of my readers has noticed I am a seemingly a Trend Setter, being, folks are reading this blog, like what they see, and follow suit. I use the word “see” because you see many of the photographs I post in the “image” search. This leads to my stories that center around my sister’s and my autobiography ‘Capturing Beauty’. I no longer rue the day I did not purchase a good camera and start shooting my muse, Marilyn Godfrey on Santa Monica beach, where we spent our weekends since we were fifteen and sixteen.

Marilyn’s friend, the famous fashion photographer, Steven Silverstein, took photos of my first flame on Malibu beach, where Andre de Dienes captured Marilyn Monroe’s extraordinary beauty when she was nineteen. When I headed East with Rena, James, and Robert, I took out the back seat of my 1950 Dodge Coronet, and put in a mattress, that became the stage for my muses’ rebellion just outside Winnamucca Nevada. Here is Belle’s rebellion, also.

“According to de Dienes’ own account of that first trip, Monroe slept in the back of his modified Buick, in a space dubbed her “little cage.” “Norma Jeane laughed like crazy when I told her she would become my little slave and prisoner,” de Dienes darkly recounted in his memoir, “that I might even buy a long thin chain to attach one end of to her ankle and the other end to the car!” It was later rumored that de Dienes’ anger got in the way of their relationship.” 


The point is, my muses would have rebelled that much harder if I pointed a camera at them, and told them I was going to make them famous, someday. Playing ‘Hard To Get’ is a part of the game Muses’ are adept at, starting with Orpheus and Eurydice. Then, there is Narcissus.


Above: Orpheus and Eurydice on the Banks of the Styx (1878) by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope – See more at:

Andre did shoots of my kin, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, who did not play hard to get, and married many men, most of them famous. I will go far with my revelation that La Belle Rosemond’ is Madame Du Barry, the Muse of the most famous woman artist of her day, LaBille-Guiard. I will author a scholarly paper on this. She will be my Eurydice I will recover from Hades and place on the Bourbon throne.

Marilyn Monroe agreed to be Andre de Dienes’ Muse. Belle Burch agreed to be my Muse, and accepted a blue Schwinn in exchange of her modeling for my painting I wanted to do of Fair Rosamond, I was not happy with all the attempts before me, they never taking me deep into the Labyrinth that Mon Belle took me. She is also my Political Muse.

My aunt Lillian lived on Malibu Beach and dated Errol Flynn when she was eighteen. She told me the story about her mother chasing this infamous actor out of her house early one morning when he and his beat friend came serenading.

Rosamonds 1944 Aug Lilian

Because my Country calls, I am now going to launch a major study of Samson of Delilah. I believe I may have been given a Disciple in regards to the teaching of the Nazarites. Dame Rosemond Taylor is a convert to Judaism. I might use an image of her for Fair Rosamond. This face, these eyes, could launch –  another thousand ships? This is The Face that LaBille-Guiard tried to capture.

Marilyn Reed has been my Literary Muse for over a year. Amy Sargent is my Art Muse who encourages me to render works of Art. Amy did modeling when she was a teen, and owned that Marilyn Look. We talked about me coming out for a visit. We have never met in person. She gave me two paintings which are my healing spirit guides.

Both Andre and Steven employed photographic techniques to create Works of Art. Andre Beuchamp was developing a artistic style. Andy Warhol did famous works of art from photographs of Marilyn, Liz, and Liza Minnelli, who wrote a screenplay about Christine Rosamond. Liz encouraged Michael Jackson to take up art. Bryan dated Liza, then my sister, who married into the artistic Benton family.

Jon Presco

‘The Nazarite’

Copyright 2016

Amy Sargent

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I am now considering authoring a Historic Romance titled ‘La Belle Rosemond’ which is based upon my theory the two women in the painting by  Labille-Guiard’s “Self-portrait with Two Students” are the Dubarrys, mother and daughter, who worked in the same shop with Labille-Guiard, and were members of a secret society La Belle Rose of the World’. This shop was a front. They made wigs and hats for the Royals.


It sounds like the beginnings of a mid-century romance novel: Once upon a time in 1945, Transylvania-born photographer Andre de Dienes was looking for a muse. He had briefly moved to Hollywood from New York City in search of a model willing to pose for his experimental nude projects. And it was only after many unsuccessful calls to modeling agencies that a girl named Norma Jeane Baker walked into his life.

Baker had reportedly been camping out at Blue Book Modeling Agency’s office, laser-focused on jump-starting a career in Hollywood, so they sent her over. A mere 19 years old, Baker was described by de Dienes in a memoir as a “miracle” that happened to him and a “sexy looking angel.” As predictable as a romance novel, he fell in love with her at first sight. So instead of asking her to pose nude, de Dienes invited Norma (whom he’d been told was married, but separated from her husband) on a five-week trip through California, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon, that would — of course — end in an engagement.


Steven SILVERSTEIN has gained a significant reputation photographing fashion and beauty for over thirty years and began shooting abstract fine art in 2013. Known throughout his career for conceptual work, lighting and a graphic simplicity that allow for an instant read, his images – whether fashion or fine art – often draw the viewer in for a closer look.

Born in Los Angeles, SILVERSTEIN began his accomplished fashion photography career with help from photographer Sarah Moon and her husband, publisher Robert Delpire, who introduced his work to Peter Knapp, the legendary art director at French Elle in the 1970s. Based primarily in Paris, he went on to work with other major fashion magazines, advertisers and designers. In addition to shooting portraits of Catherine Deneuve, Carol Bouquet, Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Adjani, Thierry Mugler, Christian Lacroix and many other luminaries, he has created over 50 covers and nearly a thousand editorial fashion pages for international publications such as Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar.

SILVERSTEIN has also shot campaigns for some of the most prominent brands in the world including Yves St. Laurent, Givenchy, Ungaro, Carolina Herrera, Helena Rubenstein, Lancome, L’Oreal, among many others. His fashion photography has been in group exhibitions including Living the Bon Chic Life (BCBG) in Los Angeles (2014) and Moda in Italia, 150 Anni Di Eleganza (Vogue Italia) at the Venaria Reale in Turin, Italy (exhibition catalog, 2011), as well as published in numerous books including Elle Mode: 600 covers de 1945 à nos jours (Lagardère/Glénat, 2011), Style Elle: Nos Années 80 (Filipacchi, 2003) and Style Elle: Nos Années 70 (Filipacchi, 2002). One of his portraits was chosen in the top 200 from 200,000 images in People Magazine’s history for People: Favorite Pictures (Time Inc., 2000). In addition, SILVERSTEIN has been featured in NPA Pro Spotlight video (2011), Nikon World Magazine (2009) and PhotoArt – Hong Kong (1985), as well as garnering press in other art, design and mainstream media outlets.


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So the rest of the story goes, de Dienes returned to New York after that first trip, with hopes of continuing their relationship. Eventually, though, he found out that Baker had rebranded herself as Marilyn Monroe — and was intent on remaining a single actress. The engagement ended. Nevertheless, in 1946, de Dienes once again asked Monroe to travel with him, this time to a beach in Malibu to take photos for a book of poetry and philosophy. She agreed.

Fast forward three years, and Monroe was well on her way to becoming a celebrity. During a visit to New York, she got in touch with de Dienes, leading to a photo shoot on Tobay Beach on Long Island. In her 20s, de Dienes described her as “a magnificent, elegant young woman, sophisticated like [he had] never seen her before,” yet his photos tended to portray the former Norma Jeane as a casual beachgoer, hair wind-blown and face perpetually angelic. They would shoot together for the last time in 1953, in a dark valley in Beverly Hills, working off the light of de Dienes’ headlights. 

Monroe died in 1962, still allegedly in touch with de Dienes, though she’d remarried and had been involved with other men since they met.

Their story is a charming one, particularly when some of the more unforgiving details of their relationship are omitted. According to de Dienes’ own account of that first trip, Monroe slept in the back of his modified Buick, in a space dubbed her “little cage.” “Norma Jeane laughed like crazy when I told her she would become my little slave and prisoner,” de Dienes darkly recounted in his memoir, “that I might even buy a long thin chain to attach one end of to her ankle and the other end to the car!” It was later rumored that de Dienes’ anger got in the way of their relationship.

Always thinking of his early photographs as the turning point in her career, in 1960 he sent her two letters berating her for never acknowledging him for launching her to to fame,” Steven Kasher Gallery, the gallery hosting “Andre de Dienes: Marilyn and California Girls“ this month and next, wrote in an exhibition description. “It is difficult to say if it was the fact that she never credited him for her success which upset him or if his anger was the result of her continued rejection of his affection.”

Later in life, de Dienes, who published over 20 books of nude photos over his career, lived like a recluse. Many of his photos of Monroe remained hidden in his garage for decades until his wife Shirley T. Ellis de Dienes, a former model who posed nude for her husband, discovered the stash of prints five years after his 1985 death. Thanks to Shirley and author Steve Crist, the collection of rare images of Monroe are now on view at Steven Kasher Gallery, giving viewers a glimpse into one of the actresses’ first relationships in Hollywood.

While there’s no point in crediting de Dienes for Monroe’s fame — she, extremely driven and unafraid, was the key to her own success — it’s interesting to fathom what her life would have been like without that first encounter with a lone Austro-Hungarian photographer.

Andre de Dienes: Marilyn and California Girls” is on view at Steven Kasher Gallery from June 9 to July 30, 2016. The exhibition features more than 50 lifetime prints from de Dienes’ two most famous series, “Marilyn Monroe” and “California nudes.”

His entire relationship with the star, including many private moments shared only between the two, is detailed in de Dienes’s secret memoirs, which were discovered when Monroe fans ravaged his home after his death in 1988.

Dienes was born in Transylvania, Austria-Hungary, on December 18, 1913, and left home at 15 after the suicide of his mother.[1][unreliable source?] Dienes travelld across Europe mostly on foot, until his arrival in Tunisia. In Tunisia he purchased his first camera, a 35mm Retina. Returning to Europe he arrived in Paris in 1933 to study art, and bought a Rolleiflex shortly after.[1]

Dienes began work as a professional photographer for the Communist newspaper L’Humanité, and was employed by the Associated Press until 1936, when the Parisian couturier Captain Molyneux noted his work and urged him to become a fashion photographer.[1] In 1938 the editor of Esquire, Arnold Gingrich offered him work in New York City, and helped fund Dienes’ passage to the United States. Once in the United States Dienes worked for Vogue and Life magazines as well as Esquire.[1]

When not working as a fashion photographer Dienes travelled the USA photographing Native American culture, including the Apache, Hopi, and Navajo reservations and their inhabitants.[1] Dissatisfied with his life as a fashion photographer in New York, Dienes moved to California in 1944, where he began to specialise in nudes and landscapes.[1]

As well as Monroe, Dienes also photographed such notable actors as Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Ingrid Bergman, Ronald Reagan, Jane Russell, Anita Ekberg and Fred Astaire.[1]

De Dienes married twice, and died of cancer on April 11, 1985.[1]

Marilyn Monroe[edit]

In 1945 Dienes met the nineteen-year-old Marilyn Monroe, then called Norma Jeane Baker, who was a model on the books of Emmeline Snively’s Blue Book Model Agency.[1]

Snively told Dienes of Norma Jeane, and suggested her for his project of photographing artistic nudes.[1] In his memoirs Dienes described the first time he met Monroe saying “…it was as if a miracle had happened to me. Norma Jeane seemed to be like an angel. I could hardly believe it for a few moments. An earthly, sexy-looking angel! Sent expressly for me!”.[1]

His series of pin-up shots of her at Long Island‘s Tobay Beach, in Oyster Bay, New York became notable.[2]

Norma Jeane had recently separated from her husband, James Dougherty and told Dienes of her wish to become an actress. Dienes suggested that they go on a road trip to photograph her in the natural landscapes, for which Dienes paid her a flat fee of $200.[3] Dienes had earlier been present at the first meeting of Monroe and her mother in six years, and had presumptuously announced to her mother that he and Monroe were to be married.[3] His photographs of Monroe from this trip sold widely and he made far more money from the images, and did not offer Monroe a percentage of the sales, or paid her on the profits.[4]

Dienes next met her on Labor Day in 1946, with her new name of Marilyn Monroe, they next worked together in 1952, where he shot her at the Bel Air Hotel and 1953, where she telephoned him at 2am, and took him to a darkened street where he used his car headlights to illuminate her, taking pictures her wide-eyed and unmade up.[1] Dienes last saw her alive in June 1961. Of their last meeting he said that “…her success was a sham, her hopes thwarted…the next day she left a bouquet outside my door: a selection of her latest photos. Smiling, radiant – utterly misleading; I little guessed that this was our last goodbye”.[1]


In recent years, Andre de Dienes’ photography has received overdue critical attention from a variety of sources. In 2002, Taschen published an 848-page two-volume monograph titled Marilyn, noting “his original, inspired style” and how de Dienes “soon built up a huge portfolio of stunning photographs of the smiling brunette which helped to launch her model career and, a few years later, a film career that was to make her a legend.”[5] A new exhibition, entitled “André de Dienes: Marilyn and California Girls,” opened June 9, 2016 at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City, representing the first solo show of photographer Andre de Dienes in New York in over ten years.[6]

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Marilyn at Malibu

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    Beach Belles!

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