Discover the laborious painting process behind Hollywood’s forgotten film backdrops

Walsh continues in the release: “In this form of painting, the deadlines and physicality required speed and confidence. The canvas was attacked with wild abandon, not courted. Their unique industrial techniques permitted them to be Norman Rockwell at one moment, and then Turner, Rembrandt or Vermeer at another.”
Another, perhaps even more impressive element of the works on display is their scale. “These are literally some of the largest paintings ever created in the world, similar to cyclorama paintings,” Walsh adds. At MGM’s peak, the studio had three shifts of scenic artists working day and night, non-stop, delivering backdrops. Maness and Walsh hope to celebrate both the unsung craftsmanship and perilous physicality required of the dozens of unidentified studio artists who worked on the canvases. Many artists remain uncredited, mainly because the studios wanted to keep a firm grip on the secret techniques utilised. The exhibition will also feature some of the tools used to deliver fine points of colour, which would hold up as realism for the camera’s eye, including brushes, rollers and sponges, spray guns and Hudson tanks, and brooms.

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