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
91.5 x 91.5cm (36 x 36")
Frame: 96.2 x 96.2 x 3.7cm (37 7/8 x 37 7/8 x 1 7/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Daniel Solomon
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Estate of Marilyn Monroe, c/o CMG Worldwide, Inc.
©Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / ARS, New York
Object number
Exhibition Label
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 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 actress. By emphasizing the images' off-register printing, Warhol created a powerful metaphor for the dissolution of Monroe's career and the blinding impact of her overexposure. In this screenprint, part 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 produce a jarring effect, at once familiar and alienating.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
United States\New York\Kings\New York