HURRELL: The Kobal Collection
‘A Hurrell portrait is to the ordinary publicity still about what a Rolls-Royce is to a roller-skate.’
During the 1930s and 1940s George Hurrell worked with nearly every major studio star in Hollywood. Many would not sit for any other photographer. His groundbreaking techniques, his trademark spotlighting and a rejection of soft focus created a sensuality that would come to define Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Hurrell’s incredible black and white publicity stills captured many of Hollywood’s most glamorous and famous stars as the movie going public had never seen them before. The reason they all insisted on having Hurrell was simple; he photographed a movie star and created an icon.
Hurrell photographed all the greats. Garbo, Cagney, Bogart, Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Harlow, Lombard, Lawrence Oliver, Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford and he is even credited with creating Veronica Lake’s Peek a Boo hairstyle and for putting Jane Russell (bra less) on a haystack. One of his rare colour photographs of Bette Davis in The Little Foxes was chosen above all 769 portraits and stills to open the Stars in Camera Art touring exhibition sponsored by the Academy of Motion Pictures. In 1981, one of his first portrait photographs of Ramon Novarro sold at Christie’s for $9,000. The first time a movie still had ever sold for such a price, it is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Hurrell outlived many of his icons, he died in 1992 and these incredible images are why he is now recognised as America’s greatest portrait photographer. Today, Hurrell’s images are as fresh and enthralling as when they first appeared.
This August, Reel Art Press presents Hurrell: The Kobal Collection, a lavish edition of the very finest reproductions of his work yet seen in print and featuring several unseen images of cinema’s greatest icons. All images have been taken from The Kobal Collection. One of the most distinguished archives of classic Hollywood imagery in the world, it has the largest collection of Hurrell material in existence. As John Kobal said on meeting George Hurrell they are quite simply works of art.
288 pp, 260 b/w photographs
HB; 300 x 250 mm / 12 x 10 in.
Tony Nourmand is co-founder of Reel Art Press and editor of all R|A|P publications. He is also the author of a further sixteen best-selling books on entertainment-related imagery, including James Bond Movie Posters and Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years.
Phil Moad is the Research Manager for The Kobal Collection film photo archive. He is a world authority on the Hollywood studio photographers and has helped picture edit over sixty published books.
About Reel Art Press: Reel Art Press specialises in exclusive publications with a focus on entertainment art. Their deluxe editions unveil largely unseen photography and celebrate the people responsible for capturing some of the most seminal moments in entertainment history. The company made headlines around the world with its first four editions: The Rat Pack, Bill Gold: PosterWorks, Weddings and Movie Stars and Hollywood and the Ivy Look and have seven editions scheduled for release in 2012. www.reelartpress.com
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Praise for Reel Art Press:
Bill Gold: PosterWorks
“The Mad Man of movie posters” Sunday Telegraph
The Rat Pack
“The Rolls-Royce of Sinatra Memorabilia” LA Times
Weddings And movie Stars
“The ultimate photo album” Harper’s Bazaar
Hollywood And The Ivy Look
“A sumptuous and lovingly collated visual collection.” Port