• Vintage Film Posters and Film  auction at Christies

    Sale 5872

    Vintage Film Posters and Film Memorabilia

    24 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 328

    Alfred Hitchcock North by Northwest, 1959

    Price Realised  


    Alfred Hitchcock North by Northwest, 1959
    Albert Whitlock (1915-1999)
    Mixed media on board, 'Hitchcock in Mount Rushmore', depicting Alfred Hitchcock, in place of Thomas Jefferson on the historic sculpture of four Presidents of the USA, with figures running along Hitchcock's forehead, alluding to the chase scenes in 'North by Northwest', 1959 -- 28x20in. (71x51cm.), framed; accompanied by a letter from the owner concerning provenance

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    It is believed that the painting was produced by renowned 'matte' artist Albert Whitlock as a Birthday present for Hitchcock and was given to the director after the filming of North by Northwest finished, who subsequently hung it in his office at Universal Studios.
    In his 2001 book 'The Men Who Made Movies', Richard Schickel describes, within the chapter on Hitchcock, the office the director had at Universal City Studios, as being a small bungalow, from where he rarely ventures. He describes the inside as being a well ordered world, dominated by an extraordinarily large desk. Importantly he observes that Across from his desk is a comic painting of Mount Rushmore - site of the famous climax in North by Northwest - with Hitchcock's face worked in among the American presidential visages there.
    In the climax to Alfred Hitchcock's classic film 'North by Northwest', Cary Grant's character 'Roger O. Thornhill', famously took part in a chase scene across the historic monument of Mount Rushmore. The footage was not actually shot at Mount Rushmore but by using the skills of matte artists on set; as Alfred Hitchcock couldn't gain permission to film there. This painting pays homage to the scene.

    Double Oscar winner Albert Whitlock, was one of the most skilled matte artists in the history of motion pictures, with his work seen in more than 500 films and television shows. Trained as a sign painter, Whitlock began a life-long association with Alfred Hitchcock, when assisting in the miniature effects for the Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) before being uncredited for his sign writing for The 39 Steps (1935). The two maintained a close personal and professional relationship, working together upon several films, including The Birds (1963), through to Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot (1976).

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    SCHICKEL, Richard The Men Who Made Movies, 2001: Ivan R Dee, Inc. PP.272