Portraits are a strength of the Kobal Foundation Collection. Carefully styled images helped codify an actor’s signature look—including their hairstyle, clothing, and make-up. Published in popular newspapers and fan magazines, these images promoted established and emerging stars alike.
Dolores del Rio, Nina Mae McKinney, and Anna May Wong were among the first actors of color to achieve star status, at a moment when roles were scarce and often rooted in racist stereotypes. McKinney’s photographer, Jewish American Ruth Harriet Louise, likewise broke through barriers as the first woman photographer active in Hollywood.
From the 2022 exhibition Photographs from Hollywood’s Golden Era: The John Kobal Foundation Collection, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art and Katherine W. Hart, former Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming
Photographs from Hollywood's Golden Era: The John Kobal Foundation Collection, Katherine Hart, Sol LeWitt and Class of '67 Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover New Hampshire, February 19 - May 21, 2022.
Robert Dance, Glamour of the Gods, Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation, Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2008, illustration page 94.
John Kobal Foundation Limited, London, England; sold to present collection, 2019.
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