Twelve previously unreleased portraits of Michael Jackson, including a striking image of the icon wearing an Yves Saint Laurent suit jacket and a ring of blue makeup around one eye, will be up for auction in Paris in December.
The French house Pierre Bergé & Associés will present the collection of photographs, plus more than 700 contact sheets, which Jackson himself thumbed through to pick his favorites. The images are the fruit of a 1999 collaboration between Jackson and photographer Arno Bani, whom the singer sought out after seeing his pictures in a New York Times magazine spread.
"These photographs of the pop king are the result of an extraordinary adventure lived by a young French photographer, Arno Bani, to whom the star exceptionally entrusted his image," PB&A said in a statement. "This auction ... will undoubtedly give rise to considerable interest among the collectors, but also the fans, of the pop star."
According to PB&A, Jackson and Bani "created four different artistic scenarios," working closely with fashion-world collaborators including YSL, Topolino, Seb Bascle and Frédérique Lorca. The dozen portraits in the auction were intended for use in the packaging for Jackson's 2001 album, Invincible, but at the last minute, Epic Records decided to use other artwork.
Bids on the portraits (each numbered 1 of 1) begin at 1,000 euros, and a sale catalog — which will mark the first time Bani's photos will be seen by the public — is set to be published in October and will be available internationally.
MTV will be remembering the life and music of Michael Jackson all weekend. Don't miss the one-hour special "Michael Jackson's Influence on Music," airing Friday at 6:30 p.m.!