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Beautiful portraits of the Iconic Stars, Bad Girls and Pioneering Women of Hollywood’s Golden Age

Artist Charles Gates Sheldon (1889-1960) is best known for his cover art for publications like Photoplay, the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s Magazine. His work also included advertising and book illustration. But I like to think of Charles Sheldon Gates as the man who reinvented religious iconography for the twentieth century by replacing the portraits of angels and saints with pastel portraits of the silent movie stars and Hollywood legends of the 1920s and 1930s.

Sheldon’s portraits of actresses deserve to be glorified. These women were all tough dames. Most came from blue collar backgrounds and made their own way to the top in Hollywood at a time of autocratic studio bosses and sex pest producers. Some like Clara Bow lived a life of excess and ultimately paid for it. Others like Katharine Hepburn were strong-willed and fiercely independent who relished their freedom and privacy. Many died far too young. But all had a talent to entertain, inspire and bring a little hope—the kind of thing people get from religious paintings.
The original ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow.
Clara Bow.
The original ‘sex symbol’ and ‘Blonde Bombshell’ Jean Harlow.
More icons of the silver screen, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
12:48 pm
The painting Hervé Villechaize gave to Greta Garbo
07:55 am

Hervé Villechaize
Hervé Villechaize, famous to all Americans during the 1970s and 1980s as a malevolent twerp in The Man with the Golden Gun and most particularly as “Tattoo” on the long-running ABC television series Fantasy Island, was a pretty interesting dude. His thick French accent and vaguely exotic countenance suggested a pint-sized “Most Interesting Man in the World” type years before the Dos Equis ad campaign. The truth wasn’t that far off: despite the physical handicap of “proportionate” dwarfism, Villechaize studied art at the Beaux-Arts school in Paris and had a successful exhibition after his graduation. He moved to Manhattan in 1964 and worked as an artist, painter and photographer. He acted in a Sam Shepard play, in Oliver Stone’s directorial debut Seizure, in Conrad Rook’s Chappaqua (with William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg), and (much later) in Richard Elfman’s delirious avant-garde cult movie Forbidden Zone.

Villechaize was infamous for constantly macking on his female co-workers, and he dated his fellow Forbidden Zone actor Susan Tyrrell, who told Michael Musto in 1983, “Herve’s a brilliant man, hilarious sense of humor, who’s very paranoid. He carried a gun and a long knife all the time. I loved him very much. You ask any woman he’s been with—he’s a very sexual man. He knows what to do!”

Sadly, Hervé Villechaize took his own life in 1993.

Incredibly, another woman in his life was Greta Garbo. In late 2012 a painting went up for auction with the following description:

An acrylic on panel painting of white and yellow flowers on a green background, with three embedded circular mirrors. Signed lower left “Hervé Villechaize.” Given by the actor to Greta Garbo as a gift.

Here is that painting:
Not many people know that Garbo herself tried her hand at painting as well. In the same auction, these two canvases by Garbo went up for sale:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Herve Villechaize painting Bettie Page

Posted by Martin Schneider
07:55 am