Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Show biz

Is this the best photo setup of artists posing you have ever seen or what? Unlike those Vanity Fair shots that gather the celebrities together for photoshopped encounters, this group was obviously assembled for real. Maybe the poses also straight from the artists not via a request from the photographer.

What we are looking at are in fact teachers from the Famous Artists School. It was started in the late forties to run correspondence courses. They were advertised on the backs of comics and still have an online presence today with the irresistible question: “so you want to be an artist?”  Included in this photograph is Norman Rockwell who was on the faculty. He's the one with a bow tie standing fourth from the left.

So what prompted these eleven male artists to pose in this fashion? To publicise the 1949 movie Samson and Delilah directed by Cecil B DeMille at Paramount. Each of the artists had been commissioned to paint their vision of the story. The actress Candice Bergen recalled the Rockwell painting hanging in the Paramount commissary. It can now be found in the National Museum of American Illustration in Louisville, Kentucky.