McBean, a singular talent in 20th-century portraiture, was known for his unique ability to incorporate surrealist elements into complex, highly crafted compositions in which no detail was left untouched. He immortalized celebrities from Laurence Olivier to the Beatles, his image of actress Vivian Leigh even appearing on a British postage stamp. Here, we see him united in silhouette with his studio assistant and lifetime companion David Ball. The simplicity of this intimate, dual portrait belies its rich emotional undertones; indeed, Ball was used by McBean in numerous images as an iconic male form. Casting him as such proved inspiring to a contemporary generation of homosexual artists like Robert Mapplethorpe. This original print is mounted on board. Wonderful and dramatic tonalities.
Embossed on verso: "PHOTOGRAPH BY ANGUS McBEAN." Handwritten on verso in pencil: "1949."
The Gernsheims were early collectors and strong fans of McBean's work, and he is highlighted in "The Gernsheim Collection, Harry Ransom Center," University of Texas Press, Austin, 2010, page 300.
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Medium Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
Photo Date 1947 Print Date 1947
Dimensions 6.5 x 4.75 in. (165 x 121 mm)
Photo Country United Kingdom (UK)
Photographer Country United Kingdom (UK)
Charles Schwartz Ltd.