Just Above Sunset
July 23, 2006 - The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl













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The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

This is Streamline Moderne writ large.

 

From the June 20, 2006, Los Angeles Times - Hollywood Bowl's Fountain Gets a Splash from The Past. The subhead - "Neglected for decades, refurbished Streamline Moderne-style fountain is greeting visitors to the Hollywood Bowl."

So this is almost a month late. But the traffic past the Hollywood Bowl is always dicey - come south down the hill where Cahuenga turns into Highland Avenue and people get crazy, darting on and off the 101 freeway and maneuvering for the right lane as you roll down into the heart of Hollywood. But Wednesday, July 19, the lane was right and the parking lots empty at the Bowl, and the camera was in the car. So here it is.

From the
Times -

 

Memories of Hollywood's elegant era flowed along with dancing water Monday night as a huge hillside fountain at the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl was brought back to life after more than three decades of neglect.

The Streamline Moderne-style fountain was built in 1940 by the sculptor best known for creating the Academy Awards' Oscar statue. Standing over the bowl's Highland Avenue entryway, it depicts the muses of music, dance and drama.

The 200-foot long, 22-foot high sculpture was heralded as one of America's most ambitious art projects in 1939 when artists and craftsmen hired by the federal government for the Depression-era WPA Federal Arts Project began constructing it.

But in more recent years, it has been more of a symbol of Hollywood decay.

 

Yeah it had been a mess, overgrown with weeds, the fountains leaking. But it's all fixed up now - George Stanley, who designed the Academy Awards' Oscar statue had been commissioned in 1937 to design the fountain by the Hollywood Bowl Association and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The feds paid for it out of those WPA Arts funds ($125,000 back then) and, as the owner of the bowl, the county paid about a thousand to get things going.

 

And now it's back.

Trivia -

 

Stanley was already a well-known Hollywood artist who liked to joke that he became a sculptor by accident.

He had been studying at the Otis Art Institute in 1924 in hopes of becoming a commercial artist when he received a part-time job as a school "monitor" whose chief duty was to keep sculpture department modeling clay wet. That job prompted him to experiment with the clay. Playing around, he discovered he had a knack for molding images.

He went on to win sculpture commissions for wealthy Beverly Hills residents, the classic Isaac Newton statue at Griffith Park and artwork for such places as Hoover High School in Glendale and Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Commercial pieces included bas reliefs over the downtown Los Angeles telephone company headquarters and Bullocks Wilshire department store.

His most widely seen piece was only 13 1/2 inches tall, however.

Stanley was the sculptor who molded the original movie Oscar statue. He used a napkin sketch of a man standing on a reel of film grasping a sword that was drawn in 1927 by studio art director Cedric Gibbons.

 

But this thing was serious. You've got your tiered fountain with a fifteen-foot kneeling "Muse of Music" on top, and, in their niches on the sides, ten foot tall muses of dance and drama. The thing is concrete covered with slabs of decorative granite quarried locally near Victorville. And the whole thing works as a retaining wall that keeps the steep hillside north of the bowl's entry drive in place. Rios Clementi Hale Studios of Hollywood oversaw the four-month renovation that cost almost two million dollars.

It's a hoot, but Hollywood, which had turned incredibly seedy in the sixties, is booming once again, and discovering its odd history.

The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

The Muse of Dance

The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

The Muse of Drama

The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl
















The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

Entrance to the Hollywood Bowl

The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

One pigeon has no problem at all with the Muse of Drama, but the other, on final approach to the fifteen-foot-tall Muse of Music, suddenly has some serious second thoughts.  She is a little intimidating.

The George Stanley Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.
















 
 
 
 
Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
 
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