Gary Gross, ‘Brooke Shields: The Woman in the Child’, 1975, Heritage Auctions
Gary Gross, ‘Brooke Shields: The Woman in the Child’, 1975, Heritage Auctions
Gary Gross, ‘Brooke Shields: The Woman in the Child’, 1975, Heritage Auctions

This was one of a series of photographs that Brooke Shields posed for at the age of ten for the photographer Garry Gross. These were published in the Playboy Press publication Sugar and Spice. Louis Malle saw these photographs of the then unknown child model and cast her in Pretty Baby launching her film career. Now famous, Brooke Shields tries in 1981 to stop the circulation of these photographs by attempting to buy back the negatives. A two-year legal battle ensues and in the end the court decides that Brooke, as a minor at the time, is bound by the contract her mother Teri signed giving Gross the rights to the photographs. The court also ruled, "These photographs are not sexually suggestive, provocative or pornographic, nor do they imply sexual promiscuity. They are pictures of a prepubescent girl posing innocently in her bath" The trial left Gross financially ruined until 1992 when the contemporary artist Richard Price bought the rights to appropriate one of the photographs which he titled Spiritual America. Condition Report: Image is reverse mounted to plexiglass; one scratch to the plexi approximately 1/2 inch long to the upper right quadrant; otherwise, there do not appear to be any major condition issues.

Signature: Signed, titled, and dated in pencil on verso.

Image rights: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

From Gary Gross directly to the current owner. This photograph hung in Gross' studio and is probably unique in this large size.