Skip to main content

As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed to the public as of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe
Usage Conditions Apply
Andy Warhol, 6 Aug 1928 - 22 Feb 1987
Aetna Silkscreen Products, Inc.
Factory Additions
Marilyn Monroe, 1 Jun 1926 - 5 Aug 1962
Screenprint on paper
Image/Sheet: 91.4 x 91.4cm (36 x 36")
Frame: 96.2 x 96.2 x 3.8cm (37 7/8 x 37 7/8 x 1 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / ARS, New York
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Los Angeles, California
Based on a publicity still from Marilyn Monroe's 1953 film Niagara, Andy Warhol's portrait of the film star conveys both her glamour and her fragility. A gifted performer, Monroe became an iconic sex symbol, entertaining troops in Korea and electrifying movie audiences. Despite her success, she maintained an air of vulnerability. Warhol capitalized on these contradictions, first portraying Monroe after her 1962 death from a drug overdose. Using silkscreens, he created multiple renditions of the portrait. By emphasizing the images' off-register printing, Warhol created a powerful metaphor for the dissolution of Monroe's career and the disastrous impact of her overexposure. In this screenprint, one of a series of ten, Monroe's sensual features dissolve into a nearly impenetrable mask as Warhol's non-naturalistic colors and their improper alignment add a jarring, alienating effect to the familiar face.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
United States\New York\Kings\New York