Marilyn Monroe

Interview & Photography by: Mart Engelen

Ivory satin robe with belt 1953-1958
 

Ivory satin robe with belt 1953-1958


 

I had the opportunity to photograph some of these unique items and to speak to Mr Stampfer in the beautiful Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel. As well as being a collector, Mr Stampfer is also founder and director of the Marilyn Monroe Institute and an exhibition company called Brentwood.
 

Mart Engelen: When did you start your Marilyn Monroe collection?
Ted Stamper: I started my collection in the 1980s, focusing on original memorabilia, such as scripts, stills, documents and props from her movies.
ME: Why Marilyn and where does your fascination with her come from?
TS: It is not easy to explain why I am fascinated by Marilyn. I saw her movies ‘How to marry a millionaire’ and ‘Gentlemen prefer blondes’ when I was nine years old and I was captivated by her beauty and attitude. Of course, I was too young to know why she eventually touched me emotionally.
Over the years, as I learned more and more about the real person behind the Hollywood façade, she touched me more and more and gained my full respect. Today, I think it is a combination of everything: her feminine beauty, her talent, her voice, her career combined with a tragic private life. Marilyn was exceptional and re- mains so to this day.
ME: Which is your favourite item?
TS: A ivory satin robe she wore in ‘Gentlemen prefer blondes’ and also in her private life. And the combina- tion of black-and-white checked pants and a black cashmere turtleneck sweater that she wore for many years and that featured in an important shoot with photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1953
ME: What is your advice for a new collector?
TS: When you start collecting, it is very important to do research. Talk to experts and check the complete provenance for authenticity. And follow developments in the market on values, auctions, literature, etc.
ME: If you could go back in time, where would you like to have met her and what would your first question have been?
TS: I would have liked to have met her in New York and I would have asked how I could help her.
ME: What was your first purchase for the collection?
TS: It was a black velvet leather belt.
ME: What kind of responsibility do you feel towards your Marilyn Monroe collection?
TS: I feel I am responsible for preserving the items from her estate for the future, to remember her in a respect- ful way.
ME: What do you enjoy more, the hunt or the pleasure of owning things as a collector?
TS: Both, for different reasons.
ME: Where do you keep your collection?
TS: I have a dedicated space in a storage building to protect all the items as well as possible.
ME: Would you like to have your own museum one day?
TS: As well as organising international exhibitions with my own company, I would like to own a museum with a permanent display of highlights from the collection and loans from international collectors. I would also like to continue curating and participating with selected pieces with other museums and partners.
 
 

Collection of Ted Stampfer
 

Collection of Ted Stampfer