Paul Stuart recently held a cocktail reception to celebrate the release of Hurrell: The Kobal Collection. The book features a collection of photos by George Hurrell, one of the great portrait photographers of Hollywood's Golden Age, who was known for his strong contrast black and white images, as well as his groundbreaking use of negative re-touching which revolutionized the medium of Hollywood portraiture during the 1930's and 1940's. The collection is named for John Kobal, a journalist and Hollywood photo collector who met Hurrell while he was on assignment in the 1970's. Kobal became something of a champion for artists like Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair and Ted Allen. The two became friends, while Kobal also went on to become an archivist and historian of old Hollywood stills, eventually authoring and editing over 30 books on the subject. As such, the Kobal Collection has become one of the most distinguished archives of Classic Hollywood imagery, containing the largest collection of Hurrell material in existence. Included here are just a few examples of the work that made Hurrell famous.
As for the book itself, it really is quite impressive and I would recommend purchasing a copy. Many of the images feature some of the great style icons of the era, including Fred Astaire, George Raft, and James Stewart. The portraiture is literally quite breathtaking, and really captures the elegance and glamour of the period. Interestingly, some of the images stand out because the actor or actress is featured in character. For instance, James Cagney is captured in full cowboy attire for what must have been a rare appearance in a western, while Edward G. Robinson appears in full Little Caesar costume. Many of the images, however, feature a number of Golden Age icons in "standard" full-on glamour mode.