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August 26, 2019

Extraordinary Promotional Movie Art by Jacques Kapralik From Between the 1930s and 1950s

Jacques Kapralik was born in Romania in 1906, and immigrated to the United States in 1936. He was a commercial artist and caricaturist whose art was used in the promotion of motion pictures throughout Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1930s-1950s.

Kapralik was fortunate to work during a time considered the Golden Age of Hollywood and a zenith for celebrity caricatures. Movie studios were putting increased focus and publicity on their stars, attempting to make them household names. Kapralik’s output of celebrity caricatures increased as he left the newspaper world and began working for movie studios such as RKO, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and MGM, creating likenesses of Cary Grant, Greta Garbo, and Lucille Ball, among many others.

He developed a distinctive and highly recognizable style for his studio publicity work, much of which was shown primarily in press kits and trade magazines such MGM’s Lion’s Roar Magazine, as well as the weekly Pictorial Review newspaper insert. While heralded as a master of Hollywood caricature by industry insiders of the time, due to the nature of his work, today he remains relatively unknown to the general public.

The caricature style Kapralik became most well-known for involved the creation of miniature models from paper and balsa wood. The models were then photographed and used as promotional posters for motion pictures, predominantly MGM films. These 3-D caricature scenes were incredibly elaborate and detailed, taking up to six weeks complete.

Kapralik also created title sequences for films in the 1930s-1950s, an early innovator at a time when title sequences were just starting to evolve from simple text. His title sequence work included 20th Century Fox’s The Three Musketeers (1939) with the Ritz Brothers and MGM’S Presenting Lily Mars (1943) with Judy Garland. Aside from movie publicity, Kapralik also did advertising work for companies such as Nutrilite, S&W, and Squirt.

Jacques Kapralik died in 1960. Kapralik’s cousin, a fellow refugee from Bucharest, donated his materials to Wyoming’s American Heritage Center.

When Ladies Meet (1941)

Best Foot Forward (1943)

Honky Tonk (1941)

The Philadelphia Story (1941)

The Chocolate Soldier (1941)

Notorious (1946)

For Me and My Gal (1942)

Third Finger, Left Hand (1940)

Love Crazy (1941)

Slightly Dangerous (1943)

Conquest (1937)

Two-Faced Woman (1941)

A Mortal Storm (1940)

Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Susan and God (1940)

Escape (1940)

Designing Woman (1957)

Below are some photographs of Jacques Kapralik working in his home studio:


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