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Oh, snap: Frank Worth's classic Hollywood photographs at Art & Artifact


Sammy Davis leaps for Marilyn Monroe

The new Los Angeles photography gallery Art & Artifact celebrates its grand opening Thursday evening with a show devoted to Frank Worth's classic movie star black-and-whites. Worth, the original photographer of the late 1950s L.A. Dodgers, was better known for his rarely seen candid photos of actors, such as this exuberant shot of Sammy Davis Jr., above, jumping for joy but barely impressing Marilyn Monroe. 

Frank Wirth with MM

 According to Norman Solomon, owner of Art & Artifact, these historic photographs have previously been mostly sold privately through dealers and collectors. This show, which runs through May, marks the first time the public will be able to see and purchase prints by Worth, left, with his rumored love, Monroe, in a shot snapped by Davis. 

In the days of studio-managed publicity and before the rise of paparazzi, Worth gained unusually close access to the film stars of the day and did not release his photographs for publication. 

The three dozen plus photos on display demonstrate how well Worth captured his Hollywood buddies -- Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Jayne Mansfield and James Dean -- showing off cars, playing roulette or just hanging out in restaurants, on movie sets and at home. 

The gallery is selling these portraits, printed from the original negatives on silver gelatin paper, in limited editions. Sizes range from 11 by 14 inches, and some are as large as 4-by-5 feet murals; prices start at $1,400. For those with less cash, printed lithographs of select images can be ordered for $85 and up.

Robt Wagner & Natalie Wood During the opening night reception, two Worth photographs and a 1946 Monroe nude by Earl Moran will be offered in a silent auction. The 20-by-24 inch photo of smokin' hot Robert Wagner and his adoring wife, Natalie Wood, right, is autographed by Wagner. Starting bid: $4,000.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Art & Artifact, 410 N. La Cienaga Blvd. Guests will receive a complimentary lithograph of one of Worth's six most iconic images. RSVPs required at (310) 652-6131 or linda@art-artifact.com.

-- David A. Keeps

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Photos: Frank Worth Collection

  

 
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