Bert Stern American, 1929-2013


Bert Stern was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1947 and at the age of seventeen, Stern took a job as a messenger and clerk in the mailroom of Look Magazine. Art Director Herschel Bramson recognized his talents and encouraged him to pursue a photography career. After learning as much as he could about art history, Stern left to become the art director at Mayfair magazine, where he started taking his first photographs. He was drafted in 1951 and talked his way into an army job as a motion picture cameraman in Japan. Bert Stern died in 2013.


Stern’s best-known body of work is a collection of over 2,500 photographs taken of Marilyn Monroe over a three-day period six weeks before her death. As they were the last posed photographs taken of Monroe, the portfolio has come to be known as "The Last Sitting". The photographs were commissioned by VOGUE magazine, and several of the images appeared in a commemorative issue following Monroe’s sudden death. A book containing these photographs, including copies of proofs over which Monroe had written comments or crossed her own image out with lipstick, was published in 1992 as Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting.