lunes, 10 de junio de 2013

The Sheik (1921)

For today’s matte painting display I will go back to silent era. It was at that time when this technique was born. Pioneer Norman Dawn was the first one to paint of a sheet of glass for a motion picture titled Missions of California (1907) Some years later he developed the matte shot technique that he patented on 1918.
During the 20´s there were a bunch of artists doing glass and matte paintings in Hollywood studios.  Jesse Lasky was one of the pioneer movie mogul and co-founder of Paramount Pictures with Adolph Zukor. 
                          Jesse L. Lasky production for Paramount Pictures THE SHEIK (1921)

For the Rudolph Valentino’s Arabian adventure film   The sheik (1921) they needed to recreate some Middle east locations and that was achieved with the help of matte paintings.
Some of the glass and matte artists of that time were scenic and title painters. It was a common routine to get small paintings decorating some of the titles at crucial moments of the film.  

Hans Ledeboer was scenic artist at Lasky Studios, and he became also matte painter sometime during those years. Most probably he was one of the responsible for these paintings.

 With no restrictions for real sets or locations, it occurred sometimes that the title paintings were more attractive that the constrained glass art.  

 Some years later, Ledeboer took under his tutelage a young artist,  Jam Domela who was matte painter at Paramount films during  almost four decades working on hundred of films. I’m not sure when Domela started painting mattes, but I doubt he worked on The Sheik.  

Hans Ledeboer working on a scenic painting. 

3 comentarios:

  1. Jan Domela started with scenic backings with fellow Dutch immigrant Hans Ledeboer at Paramount-Lasky in the early 1920's and I understand from his daughter that Jan started painting mattes from sometime around 1927.

    Keep up the great work on these unseen classic glass shots Domingo



  2. Many thanks for clarifying that facts Peter. It is so great you are in contact with Jam Domela family.


  3. Thank you for the information on Hans Ledeboer. I would like to find out if there is a collection of his works somewhere, as he was a personal friend of my parents (both gone now).