Jean Harlow Portrait on a 90-year-old piece of The Hollywood sign

13 Jun

Fabulous one-of-a-kind original painting of Jean Harlow by renowned artist and collector Bill Mack, mixed media, acrylic, oil, and urethane, painted on a 24 x 30 piece of authentic metal from the original ‘Hollywoodland’ sign that stood in the Hollywood Hills from 1923 to 1978, during the glamorous ‘Golden Age’ of cinema. The captivating image shows the actress in a white gown looking skyward, with “Hollywood” painted down the left edge to evoke the legendary sign. Unique in itself, the metal piece retains all of its original character, wear, and weathering, as well as the original holes designed to allow wind to pass through. The metal panel is mounted on a rigid backing material and the original holes in the metal are re-bored through the backing. When completed, the painting was aged with an oil base toner, and preserved with a clear urethane. Attractively framed to an overall size of 37 x 43. In fine condition, with aforementioned expected age wear and weathering.

The original ‘Hollywoodland’ sign was built in 1923, intended as a temporary advertisement for a nearby residential neighborhood. This was just as Hollywood was emerging as the entertainment capital of the world, and the sign became an iconic symbol of the glamorous motion picture industry. The sign’s prominence and historical significance led the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board to designate it as a landmark in 1973, but throughout the decade it deteriorated badly—by 1978, the third ‘O’ had collapsed and the sign was deemed beyond repair. A ‘Save the Sign’ campaign was launched, and with the help of the likes of Hugh Hefner, Gene Autry, Andy Williams, and Alice Cooper, over $250,000 was raised to construct a replacement; the brand-new sign was unveiled in November 1978, and the material from the original sign was locked up in storage, not to see the light of day for three decades. In 2007, Bill Mack purchased the material, realizing it could be incorporated into his artwork to create unique pieces that truly bring Hollywood’s golden age to life. Though internationally known for his pioneering relief sculptures, Mack turned to paint for these works, using the unique surface as his canvas for classic Hollywood images. What is most remarkable is the symbiosis of media—the original Hollywood sign material is preserved to fully retain its worn and weathered character, giving each painting a historical sense of time and place with a heartbeat of its own. At the same time, the painted image breathes life into the material, providing an immediate specificity to all that the Hollywood sign has come to represent. In this combination, this work successfully lives up to the goal Mack set forth after acquiring the sign: ‘The Hollywood Sign is among the most famous structures in the world, and I will give the world a whole new way to look at it.’ RR Auction COA.

Bidding for the Hollywood Auction opens Jun 19, 2014 & ends Jun 26, 2014

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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Jean Harlow


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