Stunning oversized Bull portrait of Harlow in the style of a gangster’s moll, signed for a bandleader and his wife: “Youse guys, I adore you”
Legendary screen actress (1911–1937), known for her unique sex appeal and her distinctive platinum blonde hairdo, who died of renal failure at the age of 26. Fantastic and incredibly rare vintage oversized matte-finish 10 x 13 Clarence Sinclair Bull full-length portrait of Harlow in a black dress sitting atop a white cube, her platinum blonde hair beautifully lit, signed in fountain pen for her close friends, bandleader (the Kentucky Serenaders) Johnny Hamp and his wife Ruth, “Youse guys I adore you, never forget that—Jean.” The lower right corner bears Bull’s blindstamp, and the reverse is rubberstamped “Camera Study by Clarence Sinclair Bull. Kindly credit.” In fine condition, with almost all flaws confined to the borders (four tack holes to border, light creasing to corner tips, and a trivial chip to bottom edge), along with some scattered light silvering and a couple barely noticeable areas of discoloration to the image area.
Fan magazines of the time were requesting exclusive images of the stars, so art deco cubes and rectangular shapes came into play in Bull’s photos so that no two photos were alike; other photos from this session can be seen in the various Hollywood photography and Harlow books. This facial image was also used for the December cover of Screen Book magazine that same year. Later, Bull would develop ‘Harlow’s halo,’ which was a surgeon’s lamp that adjusted to any amount of light. Harlow’s hair then didn’t photograph as the ‘burned-up snow-white blob’ described by Bull.
This photo was originally part of the Johnny and Ruth Hamp collection, which included items from ‘Mama’ Jean Bello’s estate. After Ruth’s death, the photo passed to a friend, Mary Felderman, later acquired by a collector, then later sold as part of a large group of Harlow material from the Bello/Hamp estates by Lone Star Autographs in the 1990s. This is undoubtedly one of the finest Jean Harlow signed photographs to come to the market in some time, especially due to its size, clarity, signature contrast, and of course Harlow’s trademark hair. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.