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In the Galleries: Jim French, Before Colt

In the Galleries: Jim French, Before Colt


Before he was the uncontested master of erotic gay photography, Colt Studios founder Jim French got his foundation as an advertising artist in the heyday of Madison Avenue.

In the heady "Mad Men" days of the '60s, the man who later pioneered the art form of male nude photography was working as a commercial artist in New York.

Jim French's work from the period survives in the French archives and is a revealing look back into both the style of the day and the visual antecedents to his ground-breaking work as "Rip Colt."

A show in Palm Springs on May 17 at the Nat Reed Gallery will feature French's work, much of it from his time as a portraiture artist for Columbia Records. French created exquisite ink wash drawings for use on album covers, including potraits of Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, and more. The show will also include an original color portrait of Maria Callas that never got used because she changed hairstyles while French was creating it.

Also on display are the gouaches from French's time at Tamis Keefe, which created the market for illustrated textiles at high end department stores. Plus, it will feature fashion illustrations for Neiman Marcus and a selection of personal drawings.

Jim French BC
Nat Reed Gallery
Saturday May 17, 2014
333 N. Palm Canyon
Palm Springs, CA. 92262

Fashion drawing

Johnny Cash

Patsy Cline

Frank Sinatra

Johnny Mathis

Barbra Streisand

Textile designs

Textile designs

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