WILL CONNELL’S SPOOF ON HOLLYWOOD, INSCRIBED TO FORTUNE MAGAZINE’S ART DIRECTOR, WITH TYPED LETTER SIGNED, AND ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SELF-PORTRAIT, ALSO SIGNED
CONNELL, Will. In Pictures: A Hollywood Satire. New York: T.J. Maloney, (1937). Tall quarto, original tan and russet cloth. Accompanied by a single-sheet typed letter signed and an original silver-nitrate contact print, signed. Housed in beautiful matching custom clamshell box. $3200.
Signed limited first edition, number 76 of 500 copies, with 48 full-page photogravures of the Hollywood scene, signed and further inscribed, “For Hank [i.e. Francis] Brennan— echoes on an extraordinarily pleasant hour. Will Connell.” Accompanied both by a typed thank-you note to Brennan, dated November 20, 1939, for granting Connell an interview, and by an original signed photographic self-portrait.
Self-taught California commercial photographer Will Connell opened a studio in downtown Los Angeles in 1925, attaching himself to a circle of “pictorialists,” later dubbed “the urban bohemian intelligentsia.” Photographing virtually every industry in California between 1926 and 1952, Connell produced work that is regarded not only as the highest caliber of commercial art, but as a significant pictorial record of California history. Through irony and insider humor, Connell’s In Pictures presents a satirical photomontage of Hollywood iconology. “His penetrating mind, and the all important satirical impulse are blended in one talent capable of dissecting a national institution [Hollywood] with its own instruments of torture… ground glass, shutter and lens” (Maloney). The recipient of this copy was Fortune magazine’s art director Francis (“Hank”) Brennan, whom Connell interviewed in the course of seeking new clients. Brennan was the architect of the so-called Fortune “look,” which came to dominate American magazine design in the 1940s and 50s.
Book, letter and photograph fine, inscription bold. A very desirable copy with artistic association.