As studio photographer for MGM, Warner Brothers and Columbia, Hurrell shot some of the world’s most beautiful and intriguing personalities, creating the template for the Hollywood glamour portrait. The exhibition followed his career from his arrival in Southern California as a promising young painter to his acclaim as the foremost glamour photographer of his time.

The exhibition showed all the classic Hurrell photographs: From the 20s and 30s Joan Crawford dramatically lit, her face emerging from the darkness; Douglas Fairbanks Jr, enigmatic in a top hat; Garbo; Jean Harlow seemingly naked beneath her huge coat; Rita Hayworth, Peter Lorre, Myrna Loy, Ramon Novarro, Jane Russell disheveled in straw for “The Outlaw”; Norma Shearer and Anna Mae Wong. And from the 70s and 80s, Joan Collins and Shannon Tweed shot for Playboy Magazine, Grace Jones, Queen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brooke Shields, Sharon Stone and Tom Waits in images that show Hurrell’s unique eye for sculptural form.

Hurrell’s practice as an artist informed his photographic images. He worked into the negative with graphite, removing blemishes and adding highlights. The extraordinary shadows cast by Harlow’s eyelashes in her 1935 portrait are all the work of Hurrell’s pencil. The flawless finish of his portraits is purely the fantasy of a painter but came to represent the luminous beauty of the screen idol.

Lights! Camera! Glamour!

The Photography of George Hurrell

January 8 - June 29, 2008