Greta Garbo Painting
Stars on Art
Painting - Digital Fine Art Painting
Fine art painting of actress Greta Garbo. Of all the stars who have ever fired the imagination of film audiences, none has quite projected a magnetism and a mystique equal to Garbo's. Mysterious, unattainable, and ever-changing, she appealed to both male and female audiences. On the screen, as off, she represented a remote figure of loveliness—aloof, enigmatic, craving to be alone.
The daughter of an unskilled laborer of peasant stock who was often out of work, she grew up in poverty in one of the Swedish capital's shabbiest districts. When she was 13 her father died and the following year she began work as a lather girl in a barbershop. She next found employment as a salesgirl in a large department store. Encouraged by modest success in some local acting roles, she applied for and won a scholarship to the Royal Dramatic Theater training school and soon began playing small roles on the stage as part of her training.
At the school she was discovered by Mauritz Stiller, a Russian immigrant who dominated the Swedish cinema during its "golden age." He coached her tirelessly and took charge of her personal affairs and launched Garbo as a promising new screen personality. She was given the second feminine lead in "The Street of Sorrow/The Joyless Street," in which her rival-to-be, Marlene Dietrich, appeared as an extra.
In Europe on a talent hunt in 1924, MGM production chief Louis B. Mayer offered Stiller a contract to work in Hollywood as Garbo's director. Garbo arrived in New York in the summer of 1925.
But studio publicity was at a loss as to the image they were supposed to give Garbo.
Not until they saw the daily rushes of Garbo's first MGM film, "The Torrent," did studio brass realize what a prize possession they had signed. As soon as the camera began to grind, the big, awkward, phlegmatic girl with the stooped shoulders and droopy eyes would suddenly come to life, electrifying the entire production crew with her magnetic personality. Even before the film was concluded, Mayer offered her a revised contract at a higher salary. When the film was released, in February of 1926, the critical and popular acclamation was unanimous: a new star was born and the Garbo myth began.
With her co-star in Flesh and the Devil, John Gilbert, their passionate embraces on screen led to their public affair. They were teamed again in the film "Love" (1927), an adaptation of Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina."
Garbo was twice named best actress by the New York film critics, for "Anna Karenina" in 1935 and for "Camille" in 1937. However, she never won an Academy Award, a situation belatedly remedied in 1954 when she received a special Oscar. In 1941, following the release of "Two-Faced Woman," Garbo announced her retirement from films. She never explained why. She subsequently led the life of a semirecluse, dividing her time between Switzerland, the Riviera, and an East Side New York apartment.
(credit: "The Film Encyclopedia," by Ephraim Katz.)
November 7th, 2019
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