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Academy announces major gift of movie posters

by jmaloni
Tue, Jan 29th 2013 04:10 pm

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced it received a gift of 1,088 original movie posters from the golden age of Hollywood filmmaking. The posters were donated by Dwight Cleveland, a Chicago real estate developer, who has amassed one of the largest and most historically significant collections of movie posters in the world.

The donated posters document the studio era of "B" movie filmmaking in the first half of the 20th century and include examples from Twentieth Century Fox. A variety of genres are represented, including westerns, war films, musicals, biblical tales, and social problem films.

The gift, which will be housed in the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library, fills some significant gaps in the Academy's collection. "B-movies tap into the public consciousness and provide rich fodder for better understanding the times," said Margaret Herrick Library Director Linda Mehr.

Cleveland began collecting in 1977 while still in high school, inspired after seeing film posters in an art teacher's classroom. After moving to Los Angeles, Cleveland scoured the once-plentiful collector's shops on Hollywood Boulevard for high-quality memorabilia. He continues to collect today.

"I really think that film posters are one of the very few truly indigenous art forms of our country," Cleveland said. "By making these gifts, I hope to excite an appreciation for the works themselves among members of the general public and also set a good example for other collectors."

"Dwight's collection was a dream to receive. Not only was it very well organized, but the posters also were in excellent shape. Our staff is fairly certain he was a librarian in another lifetime," said Anne Coco, the Herrick's graphic arts librarian.

The Cleveland collection has been meticulously cataloged, conserved and photographed. Posters in the library's collections are stored in climate-controlled vaults in Beverly Hills and may be accessed by filmmakers, historians, journalists, students and the general public. They are frequently shown at the Academy's own exhibitions and loaned to cultural institutions worldwide.

For more information about Academy's holdings, visit www.oscars.org.

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