July 1, 2020

RESIDENTS: Andre de Dienes

In this episode of accomplished Tudor City residents of yore, meet André de Dienes, noted photographer and former resident of Windsor Tower.
de Dienes out west, circa 1945.

Hungarian-born de Dienes (1913-1985) arrives in New York in 1938, finding work as a freelance fashion photographer for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. He rents an apartment in No. 5, and a photo studio on E. 58th St. 

Disenchanted with the fashion scene, he yearns to photograph the great outdoors ‒ especially nude women against the great outdoors ‒ and in 1945 leaves New York for California to do just that. 

There he meets a 19-year-old model named Norma Jeane Baker. They hit it off, and he hires her to take a month-long car trip and be photographed against the great outdoors. He takes lots of pictures (which would one day make him lots of money), and though the model refuses to pose in the nude, she agrees to sleep with him; the affair ends when the trip does. Not long after that, she lands a bit part in a movie and changes her name to Marilyn Monroe. 

In the years that follow, de Dienes makes his living as a pinup photographer, continuing to occasionally photograph Monroe. Over time, her gradual disintegration alarms him; he knew her when, after all. Later, he would bitterly state that "her success was a sham, her hopes thwarted." Her photos were "smiling, radiant ‒ and utterly misleading." 
Marilyn Monroe at 19, photographed by de Dienes.

More Hungarian photographers drawn to Tudor City: Martin Munkacsi, André Kertész, and the infamous George Senty.

No comments:

Post a Comment