01

Artist Profile

George Hurrell

1904–1992

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, George Hurrell studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Learning to photograph his paintings spurred an interest in photography as a medium. In 1924 he became friends with Laguna Beach artist Edgar Payne and his wife, Elsie Palmer Payne, who were spending several months in Chicago after returning from a long European sojourn. The following spring, the Paynes motored back to California accompanied by Hurrell. After a short time in Los Angeles, Hurrell moved to Laguna Beach, living for a time in the cottage called “The Paint Box.” He became part of the art community and developed close friendships with artists William Wendt and William Griffith. He began photographing the leading artists of the Laguna Beach Art Association, including Griffith and Wendt, Anna Hills, Thomas Hunt, and Frank Cuprien.

It was in Laguna Beach that Hurrell met Florence “Pancho” Barnes, who, in turn, introduced him to silent movie star Ramon Novarro. Hurrell’s photographs of Barnes and Novarro caught the attention of Hollywood, and he moved there in 1927. By 1930 he was the head of the MGM portrait gallery. He was soon dubbed the “Grand Seigneur of the Hollywood Portrait.” He established his own studio on the Sunset Strip and later worked for Warner Bros.

02

Work

Works in Our Collection

George Hurrell
Walt Disney
Gelatin silver print, 1940
9 x 7 inches
Anonymous gift
2012.011

George Hurrell
Edgar Payne
Ferrotype, 1926
10 1/8 x 8 inches
Museum purchase with funds provided by Lois Outerbridge
2011.006

George Hurrell
William Wendt
Gelatin silver print, 1926
20 x 14 inches
Anonymous gift
2002.014

George Hurrell
Millard Sheets
Gelatin silver print, 1929
9/12 x 7 3/8 inches
Anonymous gift
1992.484

George Hurrell
Untitled nude in shadow (Gigi Parrish)
Gelatin silver print, 1939
9 1/2 x 11 inches
Anonymous gift
1992.193

George Hurrell
Loretta Young and Tyrone Power
Gelatin silver print, 1937, printed 1979-1980
Portfolio I, edition 47 of 250
16 1/8 x 20 inches
Gift of Susan Rathbone
1980.120.010
© HurrellPhotos.com

George Hurrell
Katharine Hepburn
Gelatin silver print, 1941, printed 1979-1980
Portfolio I, edition 47 of 250
16 1/8 x 20 inches
Gift of Susan Rathbone
1980.120.009
© HurrellPhotos.com

George Hurrell
Rita Hayworth
Gelatin silver print, 1941, printed 1979-1980
Portfolio I, edition 47 of 250
16 1/8 x 20 inches
Gift of Susan Rathbone
1980.120.008
© HurrellPhotos.com

George Hurrell
Jean Harlow
Gelatin silver print, 1934, printed 1979-1980
Portfolio I, edition 47 of 250
16 1/8 x 20 inches
Gift of Susan Rathbone
1980.120.007
© HurrellPhotos.com

George Hurrell
Clark Gable
Gelatin silver print, 1932, printed 1979-1980
Portfolio I, edition 47 of 250
16 1/8 x 20 inches
Gift of Susan Rathbone
1980.120.006
© HurrellPhotos.com