This original pastel on board by Emil Flohri shows Rudolph Valentino as the title character in Son of the Sheik, the controversial romantic adventure that was unexpectedly the final film starring silent filmdom’s first iconic heartthrob. The film featured Valentino both reprising his breakthrough role of the Sheik, and also playing the young prince Ahmed, the Sheik’s son. Ahmed falls in love with a young French woman played by Vilma Banky and the scenes of their torrid romance highlighted the virility and magnetism for which Valentino was known. Released in July 1926, the film rejuvenated Valentino’s career, and became one of the most popular films of the year. This signed pastel was commissioned and used as the cover for the September 1926 edition of Motion Picture Magazine, and was published almost simultaneously with the unexpected death of Valentino on August 23rd, 1926, at the age of 31. A complete copy of the printed magazine is included in the sale.
This belonged for many years to Ken Galente who operated The Silver Screen Gallery in New York City for many years. Original Hollywood cover art from this era is exceedingly scarce and this is a iconic portrait of Valentino from his signature role.
The pastel is in a remarkable state of conservation and is handsomely silk matted and lined behind glass in an attractive gold gallery frame that complements the work brilliantly.
A short biography of Emil Flohri courtesy of the Early Animation Wiki:
At the beginning of the 20th century, Flohri was a well known political cartoonist. He joined Leslie’s Magazine as a young boy and worked his way up to the position of Washington political cartoonist and illustrator. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1920s, Flohri worked as a portrait painter for silent movie stars. He joined Walt Disney Productions in 1930 where he worked as a background artist on the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony series until his death in 1938.