Golden age of Hollywood coming to National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is currently hosting the Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits exhibit – a display of more than 70 vintage photos taken between 1920 and 1960.

Ideal for classic-film buffs staying in luxury London hotels, the exhibit looks at the glitz and glamour of cinema's golden age.

The show gives visitors a rare insight into the now defunct Hollywood studio system, where powerhouse studios wielded iron-fisted control over the image of the stars under their contracts.

Before paparazzi came on the scene, studios would send thousands of photos to fans and publications, while stills were used to encapsulate the plots for film posters and lobby cards.

Famous names included in this rare photographic exhibit include Marlene Dietrich, James Dean, Joan Collins, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Vivienne Leigh, among others.

Additionally, the seminal photographers of the age are celebrated in the Glamour of the Gods Photographers section.

This includes the work of more than 40 photographers including George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Laszlo Willinger and Bob Coburn, as well as one of the few Brits in Hollywood, Davis Boulton, and Ruth Harriet Louise – the only woman to run a studio photo gallery.

The photos on display in the exhibit come from the collection of the John Kobal Foundation.

Between 1940 and 1991, Mr Kobal was a collector and author who saved film photos from the 1960s and promoted the work of Hollywood photographers.

His collection has been the prize piece in exhibits and books, while his foundation continues to support emerging talents.

 

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