Profiles in History lines up cavalcade of glamour images, March 25-27

George Hurrell’s portrait of Jean Harlow for ‘Vanity Fair’ measures 36 by 48 inches. The image, signed by the artist, was printed 1979-82. Image courtesy Profiles in History.

George Hurrell’s portrait of Jean Harlow for ‘Vanity Fair’ measures 36 by 48 inches. The image, signed by the artist, was printed 1979-82. Image courtesy Profiles in History.

CALABASAS, Calif. – George Hurrell’s iconic portrait of Jean Harlow on a white bearskin rug created for Vanity Fair magazine now spearheads the largest auction of glamour photography in art history. The original camera negative, as well as a custom print of this incomparable photograph is regarded as Hurrell’s most important portrait and is estimated to sell for well over $20,000.

Profiles in History will auction the multimillion dollar Michael H. Epstein and Scott E. Schwimer collection, which contains tens of thousands of the best examples of Hollywood fine art, March 25-27. Bids can be placed either in person, via mail, phone, fax or live on the Internet through www.liveauctioneers.com.

This is recognized as the world’s largest collection of George Hurrell (1904-1992) and includes more than 1,000 original vintage photographs as well as 500 negatives. Featured are dozens of the most valuable 8 x 10 camera negatives from Hurrell’s career. Included is another bearskin rug portrait of Ann Sheridan as well as the negatives used for the Hurrell Portfolios together with those of Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake and Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan.

The sequence of photographic lots include most of the heralded stars of Hollywood’s golden age, including Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer. Incorporated are two custom photographs of silent film star Ramon Novarro taken in 1929 from Hurrell’s first sitting with a Hollywood subject.

In addition to the glamour photography collection, there are many significant master prints by Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Cindy Sherman, Julius Schulman, Jock Sturges, Howard Zieff and Edward Steichen. Moreover, the collection contains an incomparable assemblage of Len Prince and Mel Roberts works as well as fine art by Andy Warhol, Richard Duardo, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Beatrice Wood and numerous others.

Epstein and Schwimer recently decided to open up their vaults and for the first time will be selling their collected photographic and fine art masterpieces to benefit many of the charitable organizations they support, primarily the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center on which Epstein served as board member for seven years.

“It’s time for Scott and me to share the fruits of our 25-year collection with the rest of the world. We want others to enjoy and embrace the most rewarding field of collecting with which we can ever imagine being involved,” said Epstein. “There is no better organization than Profiles in History to entrust our collection. I am certain that Scott and I will be back collecting once this auction is over.”

Also included in the auction will be several hundred photographs and camera negatives from Hurrell’s contemporaries in Hollywood, featuring a comprehensive sequence from Clarence Sinclair Bull, who was Hurrell’s contemporary and stylistic rival at MGM. Included are dozens of master images from Bull’s most important subject, Greta Garbo. There are dozens of rare prints of some of the most important Hollywood subjects including a Louise Brooks from 1925 before she signed with Paramount, Marlene Dietrich by Edward Steichen, and unseen prints of a luminous teenaged Marilyn Monroe.

Len Prince is one of the few master photographers utilizing the large-format 8 x 10 view camera and detailed lighting in the fashion of Hurrell, Bull and Richard Avedon during their peak years. Prince rarely uses the digital format and prefers the “old school” refinement of shadows and highlights achieved by the rigorous demands of 8 x10 view cameras. He is recognized as one of the foremost glamour photographers. Among his celebrated subjects are some of the world’s most beautiful women including his most recent muse, Jessie Mann, daughter of acclaimed photographer, Sally Mann. Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Dunst, Teri Hatcher, Kelly Klein and Sarah Jessica Parker are also featured. Prince’s prints are almost all in expensive and archival permanent selenium toned papers, which produce rich deep tones.

The Harry Langdon archive includes the life work of a master photographer from the large-format fashion work of the 1960s to the present. He has photographed virtually every Hollywood celebrity from the magical Angelina Jolie at 15, to Ann-Margret, Halle Berry, Cher and Diana Ross at their most memorable. Also included, a young George Clooney, Will Smith, Rock Hudson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, all during their prime. Included in the sale of this vast archive covering 40 years of work in black-and-white and lush color includes approximately 50,000 vintage prints, black-and-white and color negatives and transparencies, as well as full copyrights.

The complete Mel Roberts archive will be also sold intact including several thousand vintage prints with many unpublished, black and white negatives and color transparencies. All reproduction rights and copyrights for his name and photographs will also be part of this archive. First published in a physique magazine in the early 1960s, Roberts took more than 50,000 photographs of nearly 200 male models, many of them friends and lovers. They were not the perfectly bodied men common in the physique magazines of the time but tanned in the California sun and casually posed by the pool or beach. In 2003, The New Yorker described his “witty Technicolor pictures” as “capturing all the giddy delights of being young during summertime.” Roberts’ photographs are included in many notable collections in Hollywood.

Founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is a leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.

Prior Profiles in History Hollywood auctions highlights include the ‘Cowardly Lion’ costume from The Wizard of Oz ($805,000); a full-scale model T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($488,750); a King Kong six-sheet movie poster ($345,000); the Command Chair from the USS Enterprise ($304,750).

For details call 800-942-8856.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet during the sale at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Click here to view Profiles in History’s complete catalog.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Clarence Sinclair Bull photographed Greta Garbo for the 1931 MGM release ‘Mata Hari.’ The 10- by 13-inch gallery portrait is in very fine condition and estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Image courtesy Profiles in History.

Clarence Sinclair Bull photographed Greta Garbo for the 1931 MGM release ‘Mata Hari.’ The 10- by 13-inch gallery portrait is in very fine condition and estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Image courtesy Profiles in History.


Hays Code censorship guidelines prompted producers to put more clothing on Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan for their 1936 MGM release ‘Tarzan Escapes.’ Photographed by George Hurrell, the oversize gallery portrait, 10 by 13 inches, is in fine condition and has a $1,000-$2,000 estimate. Image courtesy Profiles in History.

Hays Code censorship guidelines prompted producers to put more clothing on Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan for their 1936 MGM release ‘Tarzan Escapes.’ Photographed by George Hurrell, the oversize gallery portrait, 10 by 13 inches, is in fine condition and has a $1,000-$2,000 estimate. Image courtesy Profiles in History.


The notorious image of Jane Russell from ‘The Outlaw’ (UA, 1943) was photographed and printed by George Hurrell. The unique color cibachrome print, 36 by 48 inches, is framed with a linen matte. It has a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

The notorious image of Jane Russell from ‘The Outlaw’ (UA, 1943) was photographed and printed by George Hurrell. The unique color cibachrome print, 36 by 48 inches, is framed with a linen matte. It has a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.


Veronica Lake’s trademark wavy tresses are accentuated in this signed portfolio portrait by George Hurrell. The gelatin silver matte double-weight print, 36 x 48 inches, is in excellent condition and estimated at $1,000-$2,000. Image courtesy Profiles in History.

Veronica Lake’s trademark wavy tresses are accentuated in this signed portfolio portrait by George Hurrell. The gelatin silver matte double-weight print, 36 x 48 inches, is in excellent condition and estimated at $1,000-$2,000. Image courtesy Profiles in History.