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Marilyn Monroe Mania Fed By 'Picturing Marilyn' Exhibit Featuring Unseen Photos

Running through Sunday at New York's Milk Gallery, the the centerpiece of the collection is an iconic Bert Stern image.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

This is Marilyn Monroe's year. Sadly, Aug. 5 was the 50th anniversary of the iconic actress's death from an overdose of barbiturates. But to honor her memory -- and feed the ongoing obsession with the screen legend -- there are several books, clothing lines, and documentaries coming out. The highest profile project is the much-heralded film My Week With Marilyn (opening Nov. 23), starring Oscar buzzed actress Michelle Williams, Judi Dench, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh.

To kick things off in style, Harvey Weinstein, Dior and Bert Stern celebrated an exhibit of never-before seen photos of the Hollywood legend. The Picturing Marilyn exhibit, on display at the Milk Gallery in New York until Nov. 13, traces the career of the mythic star.

At the this week's opening night party,  Weinstein said of Monroe: "She was innocent, intelligent and sexual -- what a combination. She was an alchemist's dream and that is why the flame is eternal."

PHOTOS: The Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe

Curated by the Staley Wise Gallery, the exhibition spans the sex symbol's photographic life: from a teenager on the beach (photographed by Andre De Dienes) to a young actress in the Discovery Series shot by Bernard of Hollywood who got Marilyn her first acting role; to her shoot at age 26 with Philippe Halsman for the cover of LIFE magazine. In a 1954 Bruno Bernard photo, Monroe  stretches out across rows of movie theater seats, dressed all in white.

The centerpiece for the collection is the iconic Bert Stern photo of Monroe in a high fashion pose wearing a low-backed black Dior dress. Dior recreated the gown and it was worn at the party by actress Dree Hemingway. Also on hand: Celeste Holm (who co-starred with Monroe in All About Eve and Joan Copeland, the sister of Monroe's husband Arthur Miller.

VIDEO: Michelle Williams Brings a Heat Wave to 'My Week With Marilyn'

The exhibit also shows photos from Stern's shoot with Monroe at the Bel-Air hotel in June 1962, now known as “The Last Sitting”.  Stern (featured in the upcoming docu Becoming Bert Stern), who had two sittings with Marilyn for Vogue magazine, has only released a small selection of the 2571 photos that were taken. 

There is a possibility that the exhibit may travel to Aspen and London but there is no confirmation yet. Fingers crossed.

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