Friday, October 10, 2008

Madalena at the MoMA

Italian painter Batiste Madalena was hired by Kodak founder George Eastman during the last days of silent cinema to design and hand-paint film posters for his theater in Rochester, NY—at the time the third-largest cinema in the U.S. Working alone over a four-year period and against deadlines that required as many as eight new posters a week for each change of bill, Madalena created over 1,400 unique works. Approximately 250 of these posters survived when the artist himself rescued them from the trash behind the theater. Madalena's rediscovery in the 1980s brought his brilliantly colored, singular designs, done in tempera paint on illustration board, to the attention of critics and collectors, and soon made him one of the most celebrated advertising artists for moving pictures. Fifty-three of Madelena's posters from this period will be on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from October 16 through April 6.

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