Thursday, June 13, 2024

Thursday at the Museum: Jean Harlow

I recently saw a number of rare Jean Harlow items on display at the Hollywood Heritage Museum. She was the 1930s platinum blonde bombshell and comedienne supreme who died way too soon.

There were so many “wows” to see, especially this 1937 painting by Tino Costa, “Farewell to Earth.” A blog post from 2019 covered a bit of the backstory for this 52" x 80" piece of art.

A detailed view of the painting, which was completed after Harlow’s untimely passing at the tender age of 26.

A better shot of the stunning painting from the 2016 Bonhams auction, unencumbered by display glass and other exhibit items overlapping it:

MGM Prop Department Silver Trophy used in two Jean Harlow films (“Red Headed Woman,” 1932, and “Suzy,” 1936) and the 1952 musical classic, “Singin' in the Rain,” from the Brian Bundy collection.

Jean Harlow Frankart Cigarette Holder, 1930s. This art deco treasure from the Brian Bundy collection almost makes me want to smoke.

Jean Harlow in her Club View Drive sunroom with the Frankart Cigarette Holder in the background, 1932:

If the cigarette holder doesn’t get you puffing, maybe this gigantic Jean Harlow Lucky Strike ad will (Marne Rafter collection)!

A Jean Harlow brocade purse, from the Brian Bundy collection:

Jean Harlow’s Rex rabbit fur sleeves on a replica gown, from the Darrell Rooney collection:

Vine Street Brown Derby Jean Harlow caricature by Vitch, from the Darrell Rooney collection:

The Vine Street Brown Derby in Hollywood where the above caricature was on display:

In 1936, Jean purchased three chiffon silk handkerchiefs in different colors: pale blue, navy blue (below, from the Brian Bundy collection):

…and cream-colored (also from the Brian Bundy collection):

1935 photo of Rose Davies (sister of actress Marion), William Powell, and Jean Harlow at Hearst Castle from the Darrell Rooney collection:

The same area at Hearst Castle when I visited in 2010:

1936 Joseff's of Hollywood simulated diamond and aquamarine brooch worn by Jean Harlow in “Libeled Lady.” Also worn by Lucille Ball in “Two Smart People” (1946).

The numbers for room 826 at the Good Samaritan Hospital, where Harlow checked into on June 6, 1937. These pot metal numbers came from the 8th floor just before the wing was demolished.

From the Darrell Rooney collection comes this April 29, 1932 “Grand Hotel” autographed register from the film’s premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

1932 Grand Hotel premiere register autographs, including Harlow and husband, Paul Bern.

A photo from the Robin Smith collection showing Bern and Harlow’s arrival at the premiere, signing the register:

A star-studded 1937 MGM Café signed menu from the Darrell Rooney collection:

An MGM Leo the Lion family paperweight from the May 3, 1937 sales delegate luncheon, from the Marne Rafter collection. This was where “Girl 27: The Patricia Douglas Story” took place.

MGM Executive Sam Katz and Jean Harlow at the May 3, 1937 luncheon:

There are very few color photos of Jean. Here’s a beauty from the Darrell Rooney collection, circa 1937 Jean Harlow, shot by James Doolittle:

Hearth tiles by Davis and MacDonald of Los Angeles, were recovered from the fireplace of Jean’s last home at 512 N. Palm Drive in Beverly Hills, and are part of the Darrell Rooney collection.

Also from the Darrell Rooney collection is this photo of famed illustrator James Montgomery Flagg sketching Jean for a 1936 Photoplay magazine cover:

The sketch itself! For whatever reason, this illustration was never used by the magazine. Glad it still exists!

If you’re excited to go to the Heritage Museum to see these items, unfortunately, the exhibit ended last weekend.

See more Hollywood Heritage Museum photos at my main website.

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