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1950s Australian Poster Artists

BruceBruce Member, Captain Movie Poster Posts: 964 ✭✭✭ Daybiller
Forgive me if this has been covered already, but have any (or many) of the artists of the zillions of Australian daybills of the 1950s been identified?
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  • HONDOHONDO Member Posts: 8,476 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    Bruce said:
    Forgive me if this has been covered already, but have any (or many) of the artists of the zillions of Australian daybills of the 1950s been identified?
    As very few film poster artists in Australian history ever signed their posters it is near imposiible now to know who the majority of Australian poster artists were. Time has gotten away from us now to enable us track down information on poster artists in Australia due to the artists ages and whereabouts.

    One of my proudest moments was when I tracked down Aub Mosely, a poster artist active in the 1950's.An article about him appeared in a Newcastle newspaper in the 1950's. Hoping he still resided there I did some detective work and managed to locate him a short time before he passed away and managed to speak to him on three occasions. I spoke to him about his time at the printers W.E.Smith and asked him many things about the period of time he worked there. I tried to find out which posters he designed but his memory wasn't the best to definitely confirm some titles I mentioned to him. Fortunately from the published newspaper article a number of films he designed were mentioned, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Bitter Springs. The limited colour version commonly seen is a later printing and not his. His designed daybill poster has never surfaced. I asked Aub would he mind if I contacted John Reid, explaining who he was and what he did, to perhaps have John contact him and hopefully get something published about him and his poster artist career. I then contacted John who agreed to get in touch with him and later John published a story about him on a website John had up and running at the time. More information on Aub can be located on a thread that I started on this site titled ''Artist for W.E.Smith posters revealed!'' which you or anyone else can search here on this site.

    On John's site you can check out his excellent  Australian Movie Poster Artists exhibition with a limited number of poster artists revealed that did get to sign movie posters. Unfortunately most of these artists who signed their posters did this pre 1950's, the period you are asking about. 

    We of course had the Richardson studio posters, but we don't know for sure which posters John Richardson designed personally and which ones were done by other artists working for him, We also had Southern Studios but none, as far as I am aware were signed by the artist, with only the studio getting a credit.

     It is a sad and sorry thing for the majority of Australian posters from the past we will never know who the poster artists were.
    Lawrence
  • CSM_2_Point_0CSM_2_Point_0 Member, Super Sleuth Posts: 1,268 ✭✭✭✭ Three-Sheeter
    F. Cunninghame artists:

    Image result for drunk painting
    -Chris

    There's a street of lights

    A long dark night
    Restaurant scenes
    And dark machines...

  • BruceBruce Member, Captain Movie Poster Posts: 964 ✭✭✭ Daybiller
    Thanks Lawrence. I was just hoping someone had tracked down more than the one artist you had posted about, but I guess I should have realized that if anyone had, they would have posted about it.

    Almost the exact same situation exists in the U.S. The only artists people know about from the 1950s are the very few who had signed work.

    And there is a TON of "bad" information out there. A great example is "The Invisible Boy". For years people insisted to us if was Reynold Brown art (with a few saying it was Albert Kallis). The problem is that EVERY great unsigned 1950s sci-fi poster is assigned to one of these two artists (or both).

    Finally last year we discovered that the six-sheet has signed art by Mort Kuntsler! It would seem extremely likely, since the art is basically the same as all the other sizes, that Kunstler art is also on those, but we try to take nothing for granted, so we leave the other sizes as "unknown" for now.

    I guess that as the years go by, the chances of finding more accurate info on 1950s Australian or U.S. poster artists gets less and less, and that's too bad.
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  • JohnJohn Member, Dealer Posts: 1,215 ✭✭✭✭ Three-Sheeter
    I have spent quite a lot of time over the years trying to find as much information as possible about Australian artists. I have been able to find the names of some of the artists who worked for various printers/distributors in the 50s but cant be sure about exactly what posters they designed because they weren't signed. One or two of the artists who have been interviewed have vague memories about various posters that they may have designed but it is usually so long ago that you cant rely on guesswork.

    Some of the artists had a fairly unique style that appears on a number of posters. Aub Moseley was one of those but when we spoke to him a couple of years ago, he couldn't be absolutely sure about which posters he had designed apart from one or two and, even then, he said he was "pretty sure" about but not certain. He sadly passed away about a year ago. I don't know of any other artists from the 50s who are still alive.

    There is a lot of information about Australian artists on my site ...
    https://www.moviemem.com/pages/australian-movie-poster-artists.php

    I am gradually migrating all of the information and reference material to my "NEWS" pages which are easier to navigate ....
    https://www.moviemem.com/articles.php

    If anyone has information about Australian artists that does not appear on my site please let me know!


    John

  • BruceBruce Member, Captain Movie Poster Posts: 964 ✭✭✭ Daybiller
    John, a few years ago I had the pleasure of a phone call from a man who worked as an artist on Columbia movie posters in the late 1950s, and we talked for about half an hour. He said there were four of them in the studio, and that almost every poster was a "team" effort, with each person doing what they did best (faces, animals, lettering, etc) and that sometimes one artist would finish work for another simply because that one was behind.

    I wonder if the other studios might not have been the same way, because after all, they were really cranking these out, and except on major releases where they sometimes got outside "name" artists, few people thought of this as "art" at that time.
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  • HONDOHONDO Member Posts: 8,476 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector

    In my conversation with Aub Mosely he hadn't mentioned this team practice with me Bruce, and from our conversation it certainly appeared that he worked alone. One thing I remember now is that at least one female worked at W.E.Smih in the 1950's, whilst he was working there. I would imagine in Australia, the U.S.A. and around the world female poster artists were a rare species in those days. 

    I recently discovered that Frank Tyler, one of our better known poster artists of the 1930's through to the 1950's, had designed a newspaper ad block for a 1932 Columbia Pictures / Greater Australlasion Films film titled The Final Edition.This is the only ad block that I have seen signed by him. For anyone not familiar with his work you can check out John's website as mentioned earlier as well as Bruce's. One of my favourite works of his is the slightly different daybill and one sheet posters for The Cruel Sea ( 1953 ). 

    From the published January 2 1954 ''This poster artist paints the stars'' article it states regarding Aub  - '' he has designed posters for all but one of the major film companies''. Aub was with W.E.Smith 1948-1953. The limited number of his posters mentioned in the article were only BEF and 20th Century Fox releases. Although it does state he worked on the majority of the major's product Aub did inform me that he and the other poster artists were individually assigned  to produce product for certain distributors. I am wondering if Aub, in light of the article's film titles listed that he had worked on designing were mainly BEF and Fox posters, these were the two distributor's product he was assigned to in the latter part of his time at W.E.Smith in circa 1953?

    Two posters he designed, according to the article , were Sailor Of The King and the elusive original Bitter Springs posters. I would love to see this Bitter Springs Aub Mosely design turn up one fine day.
    Lawrence
  • JohnJohn Member, Dealer Posts: 1,215 ✭✭✭✭ Three-Sheeter
    Bruce said:
    John, a few years ago I had the pleasure of a phone call from a man who worked as an artist on Columbia movie posters in the late 1950s, and we talked for about half an hour. He said there were four of them in the studio, and that almost every poster was a "team" effort, with each person doing what they did best (faces, animals, lettering, etc) and that sometimes one artist would finish work for another simply because that one was behind.

    I wonder if the other studios might not have been the same way, because after all, they were really cranking these out, and except on major releases where they sometimes got outside "name" artists, few people thought of this as "art" at that time.
    That's interesting Bruce. I don't think this happened with Australian posters. I actually know of one artist who lived about two hours drive from the printer.  He used to go there once a week and load up his station wagon with plates and drop off the finished plates that he had completed at home. He would be told what posters were needed and given pressbooks and photos to copy from. He did a lot of work for W.E.Smith and then went on to work briefly for Robert Burton.
    John

  • HONDOHONDO Member Posts: 8,476 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector

    If you weren't around at the time, missed reading the threads or you may wish to read them again, here are two threads with details on Aub Mosely that you can search and find on this website. The two threads are as follows.

    '' Artist for W.E.Smith posters - revealed!'' May 2015 thread.

    ''Designing Australian Film Posters'' July 2015 thread. Contains details of my conversation with Aub Mosely.
    Lawrence
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