Scorsese Collects: Film Posters at MOMA

11 Oct

On Friday, June 12, 2015, I paid a trip to the Museum of Modern Art to see a 35mm showing of the 1929 two-color Technicolor silent film, REDSKIN. I was pleasantly surprised to see some spectacular film posters adorning the walls of the lobby area outside the theater and in other spaces in the museum. These posters were all from Martin Scorsese’s collection and were on display as part of an exhibit entitled, “Scorsese Collects.” The exhibit remains on display until October 25, 2015 and I urge interested parties in the New York area to visit the Museum (preferably on a Friday night when film screenings are free) and see them up close.

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Here is info on the exhibit from the MOMA website:

Scorsese Collects

May 30–October 25, 2015

Theater 2 Gallery, T2 Theater 1 Gallery, T1

In celebration of director Martin Scorsese’s enduring commitment to the preservation of international film culture, MoMA presents 34 works from the Scorsese Poster Collection. The installation is centered around a rare, billboard-size poster for the 1951 film The Tales of Hoffmann, and features other large-format pieces representing the work of directors such as Michael Powell (The Red Shoes, 1948), Max Ophuls (The Earrings of Madame de…, 1953) and Jacques Tourneur (I Walked with a Zombie, 1943), and key designers, such as Italy’s Anselmo Ballester and Britain’s Peter Strausfeld. In addition to European art house and American genre films, Raoul Walsh’s silent classic Regeneration (1915) and Howard Hawks’s Scarface (1932) (represented by a rare lobby card) are included. The exhibition will be accompanied by the film series Scorsese Screens in August 2015.

Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, and Dave Kehr, Adjunct Curator, with Sophie Cavoulacos, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film.

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The text explaining the exhibit doesn’t appear anywhere on the web where I can copy and paste it, but I did take pictures making each paragraph readable:

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Most of the posters represented are European posters, so many of the American and English films featured are displayed under their foreign titles.

THE KILLERS (1964)

THE KILLERS (1964)

ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)

ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)

THE FOUR FEATHERS (1939)

THE FOUR FEATHERS (1939)

Many have great paintings incorporated into the poster art:

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BLACK NARCISSUS (1947)

BLACK NARCISSUS (1947)

THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1940)

THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1940)

Some have a pulp magazine style of illustration:

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Pulp mixes with Expressionism in these three amazing Val Lewton posters from 1942-43:

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And Scorsese himself is represented in an English poster for his first hit:

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Other highlights:

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They even have on display a copy of the book, A Pictorial History of the Movies, by Deems Taylor, Marcelene Peterson and Bryant Hale, that Scorsese acquired as a child:

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And a caption notes the connection:

Photographs in Deems Taylor’s A Pictorial History of the Movies inspired him to fantasize until films “played into my dreams,” and film posters shared the same imagery and hallucinatory quality as the films he most admired.

I have a copy of an earlier edition (1943) of that book and here’s what a sample page looks like:

pictorial 1

Finally, there’s a great Italian poster for THE SEARCHERS (1956) in the exhibit, along with the original painting for it:

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Which reminds me that there’s another great Italian SEARCHERS poster on display at the IFC Center on Sixth Avenue:

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There are plenty more posters in the Scorsese Collects exhibit, so please visit the Museum if you’re in Manhattan and see them for yourself.

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5 Responses to “Scorsese Collects: Film Posters at MOMA”

  1. Judith Trojan October 12, 2015 at 12:13 PM #

    Thanks for this coverage, Brian! These vintage posters are gorgeous and well worth the trip to MoMA …but for those of us who probably won’t be able to make it before the exhibit is over, your pix are invaluable.

  2. In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood October 22, 2015 at 9:59 AM #

    Hi. I can’t seem to find a better way to contact you. I’m a classic film blogger and quite often host blogathons. I’m holding another one next year and would like to invite you to participate. The link is below with more details

    https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/announcing-the-remembering-barbara-stanwyck-blogathon/

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