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Garbo: Portraits from Her Private Collection Hardcover – August 30, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Greta Garbo's film career began in Sweden in 1923 and ended in Hollywood in 1941. While she took a professional approach to doing photographs on the sets and in the portrait studio, she did little else to aid MGM's publicity department. Traveling under false names, she avoided interviews, premieres, parties and nightclubs. With no off-screen publicity materials, the public pictured her through the lens of "MGM's portrait giants," Clarence Sinclair Bull and Ruth Harriet Louise. New York art dealer Dance, who did a book on Louise three years ago, notes that these two photographers "shaped the look and persona of Garbo that was marketed to audiences in the 1920s and 1930s and endures today." Garbo saved their lush and creamy original prints, radiating glamour, and passed the photos on to her family. The work of Bull, Louise, George Hurrell, Edward Steichen and other photographers receives lavish presentation here, along with family pictures and candid shots previously seen only by Garbo's closest friends and relatives. Reisfield, Garbo's grandnephew, covers her life from Stockholm to New York, while Dance delivers an informative essay on the image makers and their rapport with Garbo. However, even readers with good eyesight may find the faded tan typeface difficult to read. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

September 18, 2005, is the centennial of the birth of Greta Garbo, who became the archetypal movie star by being personally inaccessible (her most famous line of dialogue, from Grand Hotel, is "I want to be alone") but photographically ubiquitous. Informal images are scarce in her grandnephew Reisfield's selection from her archives: two pictures of her in train cars, two full-length snaps of her in sports clothes, two travel pictures, two press photos of public appearances, and an image of her mentor, director Mauritz Stiller, reclining with a cat. The rest are exquisite studio portraits and polished production stills, most of them taken by, respectively, her favored portraitist, Clarence Sinclair Bull, and her preferred on-set photographer, Milton Brown. The work of other hands--Bull's fellow Hollywood portraitists Ruth Harriet Louise and George Hurrell (whose approach to Garbo, Dance says in the accompanying history and assessment of the pictures, is too objective), Edward Steichen, Nicholas Muray, Cecil Beaton, and Arnold Genthe--also appears. Truly, Garbo's was the face of a century. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; First edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847827240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847827244
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.1 x 12.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,312,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good selection of portraits, nice text. Added bonus is that my copy came with authograph :)
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Format: Hardcover
a Garbo book, of her private collection of stills and things. as Jackie Gleason said....How Sweat it Is! i have loved Greta Garbo sense i was in high school...some 30 years ago. She was so magical on screen and i see that it is she who started those Hollywood trend of wearing sunglasses all the time, and she refused to sign autographs and do publicity because when she did do it early in her career, she had to pose next to the lion of MGM... a real lion, how foolish she must have thought. so she gave a great performance and let the world stew for any more from her.... that a girl. Garbo is a real star, not a ding bat blonde of the moment. she has substance. and this big book is her photo collection of herself. Dietrich kept every thing, every feather and photo. Garbo picked these and they are all gems.
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Format: Hardcover
Bottom line: I was disappointed.

I am a huge Garbo fan and looked forward to owning this book as soon as the public announcements came out - over 4000 photographs that Garbo personally kept. What pictures did she think enough to keep for herself?

One publicity blurb touting the book was accompanied by a candid photo of Garbo on the set of 'Two-Faced Woman' peering into a hand mirror while patting her hair into place - if that was an example of what the book had to offer, I DEFINITELY wanted it. That photo is not in the book.

There are over 200 photographs, and all of them except two I have seen before and are in print in other Garbo books I own. All of the photos have been 'antiqued' in burnished duo-tone, that I personally did not care for - I would have preferred the sharp black and white contrast of her MGM films.

Because all but two of the photos are unknown to me (and most likely you) and because they were printed in duo-tone I did not give the book five stars - only because it was Garbo did it get three. As a fan I am glad I own the book; as a general photography book of a classic Hollywood star, I own superior books, with superior photos of Garbo.
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Format: Hardcover
I gave this book as a gift to a good friend. She enjoyed the book's pictures and information very much. The pictures are from one of Garbo's relatives, so these pics are not common. I was looking for a good informative piece with accurate Garbo memories, and I found them in this book. I would suggest this book if you're looking for something for a Garbo fan.
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Format: Hardcover
As a Garbo fan or really a Ms. G. fan. As she would say there is all the difference. With the thousands of pictures available this selection was o.k., not great. Good quality. Seems they could have been more creative, personal. Got the impression of a clever quick buck. The so called writing? Disappointing. Fluff, lacking detail, personal depth. Makes an attractive decorative addition to book collection.
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