Amsel’s Lost Art: JEAN HARLOW
Among the many, many unpublished portraits by Richard Amsel was this illustration of Hollywood platinum blonde bombshell, Jean Harlow. I’m especially fond of how Amsel incorporates a large headshot, a full-bodied figure, and billowing clouds into the composition.
I’m not sure when this was made; I suspect it was in the late sixties or early seventies. Nor do I know if this was a commissioned or personal piece. If it was a commission, I've yet to see this artwork reproduced anywhere. A personal project would not surprise me, as Amsel was fascinated by the starlets of Hollywood’s golden age.
I hate to admit that of all Harlow’s films, I’ve only seen HELL’S ANGELS and THE PUBLIC ENEMY. (I won’t count CITY LIGHTS, as young Harlow was only an extra.) Her life and career were short lived – she likely died of complications from kidney failure at the age of 26 – but Harlow remains an icon of a lost era, one of glamour and beauty.
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