Thursday, 29 May 2014

More Hakuli - Giraffe

I recently bought this cute little Giraffe, from a shop who always places price tags over any marks and then dares you to peel them off !! I did not - I was already sure that it was a good thing and hope for Hagenauer, Richard Rohac or Bosse markings.

No such luck

..... but it was marked Hakuli. Like the Head featured in an earlier post "Hakuli - Bronze Tribal Head"; so like the Austrian designs of the 1930's. I still do not know the connection, if any.

Has a refugee from Austria settled in the new Israel and established a foundary making similar wares to their pre-war designs ??

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Madge Bellamy (1899-1990) - I'm A Crack Shot

This is a real sweatie !! eyes like that could melt anyones heart !!! But was she ??

Madge Bellamy was an American film actress who was a popular leading lady in the 1920s and early 1930s. She was born in Texas as Margaret Derden Philpott with her family being of English and Irish ancestry. At the age of 17 she ran away to New York to become a actress and dancer on Broadway and as early as 1918 she played the lead role in "Pollyanna" on Broadway and in the touring show. She also appeared in "Dear Brutus", "Dream Girl", and in "Peg O' My Heart on Broadway".

In November 1920, she signed an exclusive contract with Thomas H. Ince's newly formed Triangle film company to appear in the film called "Passing Thru" which was released in 1921. After this film debut she transfered to the Fox Film Corporation where she acted her most memorables film; Love Never Dies (1921), Lorna Doone (1922), and The Iron Horse (1924). Unlike many early film goddesses she was able to make a successful transition talkie films, especial noted for White Zombie [1932]

An etching aquatint of Madge by Frank Martin - titled "The Enchanted Lake"

She was known for her lavish life style and complex love life ! which included a brief marriage. The incident generated much publicity and effectively ended her already fading career occurred in 1943 when she was accused of assault with a deadly weapon after shooting her wealthy lover Stanwood Murphy. The facts of the case remain somewhat cloudy.

What a character !! after the shooting, Madge said
"I only winged him, which is what I meant to do. Believe me, I'm a crack shot".

Some fine commercial art from film fanzines.

Madge made her last screen appearance in 1945 and sadly lived in poverty for much of her post-screen life, working ina shop selling tools and failing to become a novelist. She died of heart failure in Upland, California, aged 90. Her autobiography; "A Darling of the Twenties" was published shortly after her death.

A fine portrait signed "Usabai" ? Possibly the art work for a postcard or trading card.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Corinne Griffith 1894-1979 "The Orchid Lady of the Screen"

Corinne Mae Griffith was born in Texas where she attended Sacred Heart Convent School in New Orleans and worked as a dancer before she began her acting career. Although her silver screen career began at the Vitagraph Studios in 1916 it was her move to the First National studio that made her one of their most popular stars and during this period she gained the nickname "The Orchid Lady of the Screen" . In 1928 she had the starring role in Garden of Eden and in 1929 Griffith received an Academy Award nomination for her role in Divine Lady.

etching by Frank Martin with her orchid.

Her talking sound film was the 1930 Lilies of the Field; this was box office flop as her voice was described by The New York Times as though she "talked through her nose”. She appeared in one more film, the British film "Lily Christine" in 1932 after which she retired from acting. She returned to the screen in 1962 in the low-budget melodrama Paradise Alley which wasn't widely released.

 Magazine fronts and film posters

Corinne Griffith died of heart failure in Santa Monica, California, aged 84 in 1979. At the time of her death, her personal estate was worth over one hundred and fifty million dollars. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Corrine Griffith has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street.

A lovely art nouveau graphic first poster for "Lillies of the Field"

She acted in at least 52 Hollywood films and was an executive producer on 9 of these.

TheGarden of Eden - United Pictures

 Further reading -

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Clare Bow - The First "It Girl"

Today's goddess subject is Clara Bow, the famous IT GIRL.

Frank Martin - etching with hand colouring - edition of 40

Frank Martin - woodcut in edition of 10

Clara Bow (1905-1965) was an American motion-picture actress known as the original “It Girl” after she played in the popular 1927 silent-film version of Elinor Glyn's novel of the same name. She personified the vivacious, emancipated flapper of the 1920s. From 1927 to 1930 she was one of the top five Hollywood box-office attractions.

Paramount Picture - Poster Art.

Clara Bow was born into a poor family in a New York tenement; she was sexually abused by her father and neglected by her mentally unbalanced mother. She went to Hollywood by way of a beauty contest while still in high school.

A small part in Beyond the Rainbow (1922) brought her considerable attention and she was soon playing starring roles in such movies as The Plastic Age (1926) and Dancing Mothers (1926).

In 1927 Bow was chosen by Glyn to star in "It", which proved a tremendous box office success. Thereafter she was known universally as the “It Girl". Bow was the embodiment of beauty, abandon, and sex appeal for the movie goers of the Jazz Age.


She appeared in a total of 46 silent films and 11 talkies. Others movies in which she starred include Rough House Rosie (1927), Ladies of the Mob (1928), Three Weekend (1928), Dangerous Curves (1929), and The Saturday Night Kid. Unable to make the transition from silent movies to talkies, in part because of her strong Brooklyn accent, and further hampered by some highly publicized scandals, she retired in 1931.

After unsuccessful comeback attempts in Call Her Savage (1932) and HOOPLA (1933), she spent most of the rest of her life living quietly on a Nevada cattle ranch owned by her husband, former cowboy star Rex Bell, whom she had married in 1931. In her later years she suffered from psychiatric problems. For her contributions to the motion picture industry, Bow was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Her face is enduring and can found on or as; The famous Max Fleischer cartoon character Betty Boop was modelled after Bow and entertainer Helen Kane. But mainly and more correctly after Helen Kane, so I won't dwell on this point to avoid endless correction comments.

In 1994, she was honoured with an image on a United States postage stamp designed by caricaturist Hirschfeld (shown right). Bow's mass of tangled red hair was one of her most famous features. When fans of the new star found out she put henna in her hair, sales of the dye tripled.

I am struggling to find any more "art" by competent artists to illustrate this posting. There are plenty of graphic representations in the form of film posters, magazine covers and adverts that feature her. This collage and oil on card by the contemporary art Natasha Sasonova is the best I have seen.

 Many books have been written about her, including; Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild The It Girl : The Incredible Story of Clara Bow / Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein Silent Stars

Here are 2 more Frank Martin editions featuring Clara, both are woodcuts. The first is her as the Queen of Sheba and the second is smal but very strong image of which only 10 were printed.

............... and finally a gallery of other posters and photos.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Ruby Keeler 1910-1993 - The Jazz Singers Wife

Today's Actress in art is Ruby Keeler 1910 -1993

Ruby was a Canadian born actress, singer and dancer; famous for her on-screen partnership with Dick Powell in Warner Bothers musicals such as 42nd Street and also for being Mrs Al Jolson. Ruby was born as Ethel Hilda Keeler and when 3 her family moved to New York, where she attended the St Catherine of Siena school.

It was during the school dance class that the teacher spotted Ruby's potential. So impressed, the teacher offered to give her lessons for free after her mother had been unable to pay for these extra classes due to the lack of money. Soon, despite being underage (13 whilst needing to be 16) she tried out for a tap audition. competing against a lot of other talented girls. The stage was covered, except for a wooden apron at the front and when it was Ruby's turn to dance she asked the dance director Julian Mitchell if she could dance on the wooden part so that her taps could be heard. He did not answer, so she went ahead, walked up to the front of the stage and started her routine. The director said, "who said you could dance up there?" She replied, "I asked you!" and she got a job in George M. Cohan's The Rise of Rosie O'Reilly(1923), in which she made forty-five dollars a week to help her family.

Ruby Keeler - etching (rare topless 1st state by Frank Martin)
click here for more

The rest is history as to say - she went on to sing, dance and act her way through numerous stage shows, musical films and television reviews. Including; Lucky, The Sidewalks of New York, Ziegfeld's Whoopee! (1928), Show Girl, Warner Brothers 42nd Street (1933) after which Jack Warner gave Keeler a long-term contract and cast her in Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Dames, and Colleen.

Ruby had met Al Jolson in Los Angeles during the marketing campaign for The Jazz Singer. Jolson was smitten and immediately proposed and they married in 1928 but only after Ruby had initially declined. They had hoped to be wed aboard the White Star Liner Olympic, but were told that company regulations no longer allowed ship's captains to perform "at sea" ceremonies. Keeler and Jolson starred together in Go Into Your Dance. Jolson and Keeler appeared on Broadway one last time together for the unsuccessful show Hold On To Your Hats in 1940.
Ruby Keeler died of cancer and has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6730 Hollywood Blvd.

It has been surprisingly difficult to find art featuring Ruby. She doesn't always appear on the posters of her own films. I will try my best and find a few for you.

A 1935 Carrara Cigarette card - from a photograph.

The art deco style graphics on the cover of the LP of the 1972 Broadway musical No No Nanaette that starred Ruby.
Postage stamps from Benin ??
Any many beautiful photographs.

 And finally back to Frank Martin with a very poor picture of the published, with clothes version of his etching.