Auction offers first-time access to portraits from Hollywood’s golden era
On Sept. 23, Julien’s Auctions will present Harold Lloyd’s Rogue’s Gallery, an extraordinary private collection of nearly 200 autographed portraits. A tour through the auction catalog is a lesson in masterful lighting and posing from Hollywood photographers including Scotty Welbourne, Laszlo Willinger, and the legendary George Hurrell. The collection also comes with a fascinating backstory.
Silent film star Harold Lloyd is most recognized today as the man dangling from a broken clock on a tower high above busy streets in the 1923 silent film “Safety Last!” In his time, Lloyd was hugely popular, and he made more films than contemporaries Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton combined.
In 1929 Lloyd and his wife, actress Mildred Davis, moved into Greenacres, a 44-room Beverly Hills mansion that featured a tunnel under the formal garden that connected the main house to a game room and bar area. When Lloyd wanted to install a bowling alley in this tunnel, Davis’ vision was to not install a bowling alley. In 1937, Davis and her close friend actress Marion Davies invited Lloyd’s friends to send him their favorite portrait of themselves, signed to Lloyd, as a Christmas present. Hundreds of friends and luminaries came through, and the result was Lloyd’s Rogue’s Gallery in the underground tunnel, which Lloyd delightedly showed to estate visitors.
Almost all of the images are inscribed to Lloyd, and the collection includes notable examples such as George Hurrell portraits of Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, and Myrna Loy; Laszlo Willinger portraits of Hedy Lamarr and Maureen O’Sullivan; a Scotty Welbourne portrait of Errol Flynn; and a Hal Phyfe portrait of Gloria Swanson. The extensive collection includes portraits of historic figures outside the Hollywood realm, such as Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Franklin Roosevelt, and an uncredited portrait of Eastman Kodak Co. founder George Eastman (below).
This marks the first time this collection is being publicly offered.
Public exhibition and live auction location:
Julien’s Auctions Los Angeles
741 North La Cienega Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90069
Live and online auction:
Friday, September 23, 2016
Harold Lloyd’s The Rogue’s Gallery
Session I: 10:00 a.m. PDT
Register to bid online before the sale at julienslive.com. Absentee bids are also available.