As the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s death approaches, a very special picture of the pop star will be up for grabs at a memorabilia auction to take place in December, reports the Daily Mail.
The portrait, taken in 1999, is an uncommonly subdued shot of the late King of Pop, who was as known for his extravagance as he was for his music.
Titled “Michael Jackson’s Blue Eye,” the photo features Jackson dressed in a black suit jacket with small mirrors scattered across his chest. His eyes are closed, with one covered with a brilliant patch of blue makeup. His hair is pulled back behind his head, and the makeup makes the singer appear healthy and vibrant.
The portrait is a stark contrast from the image of a painfully skinny Jackson most commonly associate with his death, and serves as a reminder of Jackson’s enduring appeal as a larger-than-life figure.
The portrait was reportedly shot by then-23-year-old French photographer Arno Bani, who told the paper that Jackson was a fan of his fashion photography and commissioned him for the shoot.
The portrait was on the short list to make the cover of Jackson’s 2001 album, “Invincible” (his final studio album), but ultimately lost out to a similarly themed (but less eerie) Warhol-esque photo of Jackson’s face.
The portrait’s unveiling comes amid renewed insistence from Jackson’s family that his death was no accident. According to Us Weekly, Jackson expressed concerns to his mother, Katherine, that people “wanted him dead.”
“He would always say that. For him to say that, he must have known something,” said Katherine, who appears on a “Dateline” special this Friday titled “Michael Jackson: A Mother’s Love.”
The “Blue Eye” portrait, along with 11 other unpublished shots of Jackson and 50 contact boards, will be put up for bidding by auctioneers Pierre Berge & Associates in December.