From the personal collection of Joan Crawford, this large format double weight still features the timeless beauty and Hollywood legend at the height of her fame, in a dramatic portrait from Grand Hotel. By George Hurrell, who revolutionized glamour photography with his dramatic art deco portraits of film and theater personalities, this 1932 film still was hand printed by Hurrell for Crawford herself. She later presented the photograph as a gift to her chauffeur. A very rare jazz age view with important and historically intriguing provenance. Features photographer and M-G-M rubber stamps and portrait number 178 on verso. There is a small crease at the lower right corner that does not enter the image area.
George Hurrell (1904-1992)
George Hurrell was born in Covington, Kentucky, and raised in Cincinnati. When he was 16, he moved to Chicago to attend two art schools, soon dropping out to work as a colorist in area photography studios. In 1924, he found a job as a colorist working for the Chicago portrait photographer Eugene Hutchinson. There, he also learned the basics of negative retouching, air brushing, and darkroom technique. In 1925, Hurrell moved to Laguna Beach, CA, the site of a bustling artist’s colony. He took many photographs of resident artists, their paintings and buyers, and eventually gained a reputation in Los Angeles for this work.
In 1930, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM) studios hired Hurrell to take promotional portraits of their film stars. After being fired, he became an independent contractor for several of the major Hollywood studios. During the 1930s, he experimented with new equipment and lighting set-up and arrived at his signature style: shining a boom light on the sitter’s hair part or cheekbones, exaggerating eyelash shadows, and extensively retouching the eyes. In the early 1950s, he moved to New York City and shot many advertising and fashion assignments.