Friday, October 11, 2019

MGM Style - Cedric Gibbons and the art of the golden age of Hollywood

 As long time readers of this blog may remember, I'm a huge fan of movies, particularly classics. A large part of that fascination may be for the sets and the most famous set designer is, of course, Cedric Gibbons. Of the many exciting books out this fall, one looks into his life and work, MGM Style, by Howard Gutner.
Filled with beautiful photography, a lot are of movies I've never heard of.  Not only was Gibbon's career prolific it was long-lived.  Even movies where he isn't listed as designer he was still the head creative director of all MGM pictures.  While he's primarily known for movies from the 30s & 40s, he was working until shortly before his death in 1960.
While MGM promoted him as a son of architects and a trained architect himself, this glossy version was far from the truth. Despite a lack of education he went on to have one of the most influential design careers of the 20th century. Gibbons even designed the Academy Award's Oscar statuette in 1928 (as well as his own notorious house)!
When one thinks of art deco, one immediately thinks of the movies and sets such as these; a look defined by Gibbons.
Remember Crystal's bathtub in 1939's 'The Women'? Gibbons!
Above is the aforementioned house Gibbons designed for his glamorous wife, Dolores Del Rio. You may remember the house from Architectural Digest where it was recently featured after an extensive renovation. Read the story HERE.
I was very excited to receive my copy of this book, a must for any design library of both film buffs and early 20th century design!
All images courtesy Lyons Press