When: Through May 21
Since the advent of cellphone cameras, selfies and social media, most of us are bombarded with images whether we “like” them or not. And whose Instagram feed is not sprinkled with Hollywood hotties? (Oh, hi again, Tom Holland!) But long before the Spider-Man franchise was a thing, the black-and-white glossy was de rigueur for actors and other celebs. Because these photos were used to market new films, studios paid professional photographers to style and shoot them. The images also served to establish in American entertainment history what the golden age of movie stars looked like. From Buster Keaton to Marlon Brando, Lillian Gish to Audrey Hepburn, they were a glamorous lot. The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College acquired a massive collection of portrait and movie-scene shots — some 6,000 prints — from the London-based John Kobal Foundation. Kobal, who died in 1991, was an avid collector of these images, as well as a film historian and author. According to a July 2021 article in the Dartmouth, the foundation is changing its direction. This enabled former Hood board member Robert Dance, who is now on the foundation’s board, to help bring the photos to his alma mater. The Hood describes the collection as “the full range of Hollywood studio photographs taken from the 1920s through the 1960s.” While integrating the images into the museum’s archives is an ongoing project, according to Hood director John Stomberg, this recently mounted exhibition shares a selection of them with the viewing public.