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John Kobal Collection : Hollywood Icons


This is the legendary collection of John Kobal. We have often shown it to you.

Today it is presented in Porto.

The touring exhibition, Hollywood Icons, which is managed by the Portuguese-based international exhibition company, Terra Esplendida, finally opens in their home territory in Porto at the Centro Português de Fotografia on March 5th and can be seen there until June 7th 2020.

Hollywood Icons provides a rich survey of the great stars of the classic era of Hollywood movies and the photographers responsible for creating their glittering images. Motion picture history is usually written from the point of view of actors or directors with little attention given to the gigantic enterprise that makes motion pictures possible. The millions upon millions of images distributed by Hollywood studios throughout the golden age were all the work of camera artists working quickly, efficiently and most of the times brilliantly to promote Hollywood style worldwide.

No one understood the importance of this critical body of Hollywood material better than John Kobal. Starting out as a film enthusiast, he later became a journalist, then a writer and finally, before his early death in 1991 at 51 years old, he was acknowledged as among the pre-eminent film historians. Kobal’s wrote biographies of Garbo and Dietrich, and surveys of the photographers Nelson Evans and Clarence Sinclair Bull, but ultimately his reputation rests on his pioneering work resurrecting the careers of George Hurrell, Eugene Robert Richee, Laszlo Willinger and their contemporaries. His book, The Art of the Great Hollywood Photographers, remains a cornerstone of film research.

The exhibition and book also gives an insight into Kobal, the extraordinary man who brought many of these images to wide public attention through his books and exhibitions from the late 1960s through the 1980s at, amongst others, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York;the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC and LA County Museum, Los Angeles.

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