Glamour of the Gods

Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation

Rock Hudson
by Leo Fuchs, ©Leo Fuchs

This was both a book and an exhibition (which toured to many venues as Made In Hollywood: photographs from the John Kobal Foundation) that was curated from the archives of the foundation and showcased the superb vintage prints of the work of the Hollywood Portrait Photographers held in the archive.

Over the past twenty years, the name John Kobal - mainly through the annual John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award that ran for ten years at the National Portrait Gallery until 2002 and since then our grants - has become synonymous with supporting emerging talent in British portrait and people-based photography.

The funds that support the above come from exploitation of the private archive that John Kobal collected together, and donated to the foundation,of the work of the major photographers working in the Hollywood Studio system from 1920-1960. Although John had written many books and curated many exhibitions, the vintage fine art prints in this archive had never been exhibited or published.

The foundation decided that the time was right to remind people about its Hollywood photography roots and that the best way to do so was by putting together a touring exhibition of these vintage prints and publishing a book/catalogue to accompany this exhibition. Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photographs at The Santa Barbara Museum of Art in Santa Barbara, California curated the exhibition, along with our own Robert Dance, and the museum took charge of organising its ongoing tour. Steidl Books agreed to publish the book which was written by Robert Dance with a foreword by one of Kobal's oldest friends and his literary executor, the celebrated film and art critic and author, John Russell Taylor.