CLU art exhibit spotlights movie posters

Dance is dominant image in posters from '30s, '40s

Exhibit highlights include the original French-release poster for “An American in Paris” that belonged to Gene Kelly.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Oct. 25, 2013) A new exhibit at California Lutheran University highlights the art of vintage movie posters.

“Gotta Dance!” opens Friday, Nov. 15, in the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art and runs through Saturday, Feb. 8. A reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

The free exhibit features 40 posters selected for their artistic and historical significance by movie producer Mike Kaplan from his collection. It spotlights the film poster as an underappreciated art form and explores the diverse ways dance has been used as a dominant image.

The majority of the works date from between 1930 and 1950, a golden age for movie poster design. Many are from overseas, where designers made extensive use of illustrations rather than photos.

Highlights include an original French-release poster for “An American in Paris” that belonged to Gene Kelly, a poster featuring a young James Stewart dancing with Eleanor Powell in “Born to Dance” and an immaculate image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in elegant evening attire for “Carefree.” The exhibit also features a rare American 40-by-60-inch “Strike Up the Band” poster featuring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in caricaturist Al Hirschfeld’s design.

There are posters from major musicals such as the Italian “Singing in the Rain” and the East German “West Side Story,” which was the only one that highlighted Oscar winners Rita Moreno and George Chakiris. A vibrant French stone lithograph by Bernard Lancy features Danny Kaye as the “The Kid From Brooklyn” with a chorus line of can-can dancers in the style of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Posters from non-musicals are also featured. Highlights include the German poster for “Grand Hotel,” featuring ballerina Greta Garbo posed against the hotel’s black-and-white art deco lobby, and the Italian “Salome,” a multi-colored depiction of Rita Hayworth’s dance of the seven veils by premier film poster artist Anselmo Ballester.

Kaplan has collaborated with important artists including Don Bachardy, David Hockney and Allen Jones on poster campaigns. He worked with British airbrush artist Philip Castle on many posters, including the one for “A Clockwork Orange” that was voted All-Time Best Film Poster by patrons of England’s Odeon Cinema Circuit.

The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. For more information, contact curator Jeff Phillips or assistant curator Rachel Schmid at 805-493-3697 or