Grapefruit Moon Gallery is delighted to offer this spectacularly executed, and exceedingly rare surviving original painting by Henry Clive of the glamorous silent era Hollywood superstar Gloria Swanson. Clive, a staff illustrator at Paramount, executed a series of portraits for for the film studio of stars including Rudolph Valentino, Mae Murray, Pola Negri, Betty Compson, Jackie Coogan, and Charlie Chaplin. These portraits graced the lids of 1920s Canco company tins, and this is the only original painting from the series known to exist. This comes from the estate of Sanford Dody, the iconic ghostwriter, who made friends and enemies throughout Hollywood (notably Bette Davis and Judy Garland) in his long career chronicling the stars. It is truly a rare treasure from the Lost Era of Hollywood. This oil on illustration board artwork is beautifully matted and framed in a period carved gilt frame and remains in a pristine state of conservation. This image of Swanson is particularly evocative of jazz age Hollywood, as Swanson would become synonymous with the period through her portrayal of Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" (a character, intriguingly enough, based on Mae Murray, another Paramount star featured in Clive's Canco tin series).
Henry Clive got his start as an illustrator working for Paramount Films in about 1920, after starring in a few early silent films himself as an actor. His illustration work from this era has proven near impossible to locate and the original paintings have seemingly gone the way of the the lost films of the era. Here is a view of the 1920s Canco Company Gloria Swanson tin this was commissioned for (included in the sale) and also a view of a collection of Clive tins from this series.