This September is the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Eastman Kodak Company (referred to simply as Kodak). We take a look at a special collection of footage shot by the artist Philip de László, who was gifted one of the first motion cameras by George Eastman, the founder of Kodak.
Brimming with the glamour, grandeur and fun of British high society in the 20s and 30s, Bridgeman is delighted to represent the previously unseen home-movies of the Hungarian painter, Philip de László.
In 1926, when Philip de László painted the portrait of Eastman Kodak Company founder, George Eastman (Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, U.S.A.), he was given one of the earliest motion picture cameras, the Ciné-Kodak model B, first produced in 1925. From then until de László’s death in 1937, the artist, his sons and his studio assistant Mr. Harwood filmed a unique record of de László’s life and work on 16mm film, which was initially sent to America for processing.
It was first rescued and put onto tape by one of the artist’s grandsons, Martin de László, who spent many hours with his uncle Paul and father John recording the commentaries. The original film was irretrievably damaged by ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ – a form of chemical decay that occurs in cellulose acetate film when it is kept in hot, humid conditions. This material releases acetic acid, the key ingredient in vinegar which is responsible for its acidic smell.
Bridgeman Footage is proud to unveil this captivating and exclusive collection, offering nearly 400 clips of a bygone era. It includes intimate shots of de László painting his famous sitters, (King George of Greece II; His Excellency Frank Billings Kellogg; Commanding General Krishna of Nepal) as well as film taken on his various expeditions around the world. It also includes quirky, fun and frivolous moments in the de László household, making it not only a unique account of a prolific portrait artist at work in the early twentieth century but also a fascinating record of society in the roaring ’20s and stylish ’30s.