Penrhyn Stanlaws pursued Mabel Normand,
one of his models into the Movies
Penrhyn Stanlaws wrote in the Movie Weekly 1921 April 16, page 11 Artist’s Models who have become Movie Stars; that the training that models ‘posing’ was an important skill that translated beautifully before a moving camera. I have maintained stridently that this understanding of the strength of the camera and how to move before it created the Mabel we see on the screen and that she was fortunate that she didn’t have to unlearn stagecraft, as she went from modeling (posing) to ‘posing’ before a camera which took moving pictures. The article didn’t seem to be written by a man that was intimidating although Mabel seemed to be frightened by Stanlaws.
1921 April 16, page 11
Artist’s Models who have become Movie Stars
By Penrhyn Stanlaws
When searching for models for my work as an artist, I used to wonder where all the pretty girls kept themselves. Now that I’ve temporarily laid aside the brush to become a motion picture director and have spent several months in
Indeed, many girls who have studied posing in artist’s studios and whose faces have become familiar to you on the magazine covers are now well known to you on the screen. Marion Davies, Mabel Normand, Anna Q. Nilsson, Helene Chadwick, Mae Murray, Alice Joyce and Florence La Badie are just a few who have passed through my own studio on the road to fame and fortune. Most of them were at the high school age when they started working for me. Often when I see them on the screen, I notice some trick that they picked up while acting as my models. Now the trick is done with ease and grace, but, if the truth be known, they spent many tedious hours learning it.
I think it would be an excellent thing if every movie star had to spend an apprenticeship in an artist’s studio. It would teach them how to handle their bodies gracefully – the art of posing. Some come by it naturally; other acquire it with difficulty.
Most of all it is personality that makes the movie girl, and personality, in my opinion, consists merely of common sense plus the instinct for the dramatic. Dramatic instinct tells her how to act before the camera, and common sense gives her discretion in her acting and warns her when she is about to over-do it.
There is no ideal type for motion picture. If you have beauty and personality and will make up your mind to put in long, arduous years learning the art of picture-acting, you have a chance.
But are you sure you would like to be a movie girl? The movies have a glamour and attraction about them, I know. But if you have never worked before the camera, you haven’t any idea of how exhausting this form of acting is. You know how you feel after a day spent in the department stores of the city hunting for Christmas presents? The movie actor or actress feels ten times more exhausted than that after an ordinary day at the studio.
In the morning, the suitcase brigade arrives at the studio, fresh and eager for the day’s work. The hero steps forth briskly; the leading lady has a sparkle in her pretty eye; the grand dame, who in the first reel opposes the leading lady’s impending marriage to the poor but honest hero, holds her aristocratic head high; the portly gentleman who plays “father” is frisky as a two-year-old; the ingénue “vamps” the director gaily. But at night, after a hard day’s work under the aforesaid director and the enervating, eye-straining Klieg lights, they present a very different picture as they start for home, bedraggled and utterly worn out.
Stanlaws, directed Betty Compson in 4 film 1921 and 1922 and did 7 altogether for Paramount both on the East and West Coasts but for me it isn’t his films nor any particular drawing he did of Mabel; for me it is his printing of Olive Thomas titled, “Between Poses”; it is the picture I will always connect him with.
Mabel didn’t say anything really nasty about him, she didn’t seem to feel about him the way she did about Gibson and others.
“Penrhyn Stanlaws' studio was in the Woodward Hotel. He was a demon for color, and one day I thought I'd please him by showing him a little sample of a rose-colored dress my mother was going to make for me. He spoiled the whole morning, tossing his hands aloft and raving about the atrocious hue. He frightened me so I've never worn a rose-colored dress to this day...
“Henry Hutt was on the top floor of the Life Building, and he made the most lovely faces I ever saw. He was tireless at the easel, and I used to tug at his cramped legs until the circulation was restored and he could move himself.
“Mr. Gibson was truly a master. How I loved to watch, between poses, as he filled in the outlines of my face or body with his soft warm crayons. I used to touch the picture with my finger tips when he wasn't looking.”
What did I find out about Penrhyn Stanlaws; well, he was born Remember he was not painting portraits of these New York Beauties so you will find Alice Joyce with blonde hair. His use of the fade-away effect was very popular and for a time was his trademark.
What did I find out about Penrhyn Stanlaws; well, he was born
Remember he was not painting portraits of these New York Beauties so you will find Alice Joyce with blonde hair. His use of the fade-away effect was very popular and for a time was his trademark.
In an article from the Syracuse Herald dated
He came to the
Stanlaws was responsible for building the Hotel des Artistes, which stands on
Stanlaws had left
Among the jobs, Stanlaws held other then as a famous artist, perhaps a less then successful director he added newspaper staff artist for the Chicago Daily News and a regular contributor to the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. He did come back to