Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hollywood Panorama caricature of Louise Brooks from 1971

I just acquired a copy of a 1971 book, Hollywood Panorama, by Bob Harman. And, remarkably, it contains a caricature of Louise Brooks! That's rather early in her story of rediscovery. It is a few years before the Kenneth Tynan article in the New Yorker, and more than a decade before Lulu in Hollywood was published.

Harman's book features some 1,000 different stars, with Louise Brooks twice depicted among them in both black & white and in color. Nutshell biographies in the back of the book describe Brooks as "A vivid vamp of the twenties -- distinguished by her cold and classic beauty." Here is the page featuring Brooks in color. She can be found in the lower left corner. (In a way, her depiction evokes Al Hirschfield and anticipates David Levine.)

I wasn't able to find much information online about the artist, but according to an informative and illustrated blog by the cartoonist and illustrator Drew Friedman, "The late artist Bob Harman took ten years to create Bob Harman's Hollywood Panorama a 5x9 foot full color montage of 1001 caricatures of vintage film stars set against a background of famous movie sets and Hollywood landmarks. It was published in book form in 1971 by Dutton. Many of the caricatures created for Hollywood Panorama were also reprinted in B&W in the book The MGM years", also from 1971." Here is the 1971 newspaper article which led me to track down this book.

Harman also contributed caricatures to various magazines, including the cover for an issue of Focus on Film, a magazine to which Brooks once contributed.

Harman's Hollywood Panorama was not his only book, and not the only one of his books which included Brooks. His 1991 book, Enchanted Faces, which was self-published and which I just ordered a copy, also contains a rather fine portrait of Brooks. Here Thelma and Louise face one another. The image below is from Drew Freidman's blog.

Harman also drew paper dolls, and published another book, this one from 1990. I ordered a copy of it as well. Hopefully, as it focuses on the stars of the silent screen, it may have some images of interest. I like his style.

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