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Paintings That Played A Role in the Movies


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I hope the following hasn't been mentioned already, but in the film THE MOON AND SIXPENCE, George Sanders portrays a tormented and tormenting artist that is purported to be loosely based on the life of french painter Paul Gauguin.

 

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In this film based on a book authored by W Somerset Maugham, many various paintings are shown in passing during this film's length, however near the end of the film the man's final works are revealed to the audience and spotlighted upon, and turns out to in fact be very reminiscent of works by Gauguin...

 

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I don't have any stills, but the plot of In Society revolves around Abbott and Costello as plumbers, being used by Thomas Gomez in an attempt to steal a valuable painting of a gambler named "The Plunger."  Of course, Lou thinks this is an instrument used on a toilet, and can't over the fact that this has been in someone's family for generations. When the painting is finally revealed, he says "what kind of plunger is that?  That must be the bathroom door - the plunger must be on the other side."

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This portrait always gives me a chuckle.  The spruced up single girls are serenading Josh Birdwell (Anthony Perkins) in front of a picture of their late father, Mr. Hudspeth.

 

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When Jess Birdwell (Gary Cooper) asks the Widow Hudspeth (Marjorie Main) where her late husband went - here is the reply.

 

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Okay, the portrait may be a photo, rather than a painting, but I'm going to include it here anyway. From Laurel and Hardy's 1927 silent short, Their Purple Moment:

 

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A henpecked Stan stands in front of a portrait on the wall as he arrives home, his wife demanding all his money.

 

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But Stan's holding out on her, hiding some of his money in this swing out portion of the portrait. Clever, eh?

 

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As if you didn't just know it. Not clever for long, as Mrs. Laurel makes the discovery. Goodbye hidden money, which she will replace with United Cigar Store money. Stan will take his "loot" for a hot time in a nightclub with Ollie, only to then make the ugly discovery.

 

One of Stan and Ollie's funniest silent shots, in my opinion, with this portrait playing a significant role in the story line.

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The painting above is titled The Bather or La Baigneuse painted by Pablo Picasso in 1928, and the work is currently part of the collection at the Musee Picasso, in Paris. Between 1927 and 1928, the artist returned to the subject on several occasions.

 

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The painting appears in Midnight in Paris (2010) on two separate occasion, first acting as a pretext to introduce the main character, Gil (Owen Wilson), to many famous and infamous names of 1920s Paris. Although Picasso appears with his painting, the pretext given for Gertrude Stein's critique of the work is purely fictional.

 

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The second occasion the painting appears is in a contemporary setting. Gil is given the opportunity to share his insight during a visit to the museum where the painting now hangs. He shares what he overheard during Picasso and Gertrude Stein's debate, baffling his fiancée and two acquaintances.

 

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Baigneuses au Ballon ~ one of a group of paintings Pablo Picasso created with a day at the beach theme.

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More from The Age of Innocence (1993):

 

Obviously Mrs. Mingott would have paintings of dogs by George Stubbs in her house:

 

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And this painting of Khnopff's The Sphinx (aka The Caresses) is a perfect backdrop for these two characters. 

 

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