Saturday, 19 June 2021

EPIC ORIGINAL MATTE PAINTING AUCTION

 


Hi there fellow devotees of the magical trick shot world from days gone by, where movie miracles were created by the most modest of mediums by a highly specialised and select assembly of talented artists and cameramen.  All who follow my blog will easily appreciate and value the consumate skills and imaginative innovation applied therein, rendering so many memorable moments, not to mention the enormous cost effectiveness. 

Todays blog post is a departure of sorts from the usual clinical examination of matte painted shows of old as I wish to bring to my readers attention a forthcoming auction of traditionally hand painted mattes from the vast collection of visual effects cinematographer Bill Taylor.  As previously detailed in various NZ Pete blog posts Bill was Albert Whitlock's cameraman at Universal for a decade before establishing a highly successful visual effects company, Illusion Arts, with long time associate, matte artist Syd Dutton.  Illusion Arts specialty was in matte painted shots, with literally hundreds of these being rendered over many years for feature films, commercials and television shows.  The sheer volume of traditional mattes executed was mind boggling - and that was prior to the company eventually shifting gears and moving into the digital arena.  

The upcoming auction, held by Heritage Auctions in Texas, promises to be unforgettable.  I have illustrated all of the matte paintings here, as well as a great number of close up detailed views as possible.  Also part of the auction are a number of conceptual paintings, rendered for proposed matte shots.  I have only included a handful of these here, with some particular standouts that I personally like.  Some of Syd's incredible fine art also features in the auction - largely of a fantasy theme - though due to an already heavily overloaded blog post I haven't included them.  They can be easily found on the Heritage web site.  The bidding commences on June 28th 2021.

Interestingly, a wonderful and very rare non-Illusion Arts matte is featured as well in the auction - the spectacular Howard Fisher cityscape as seen in IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD.  I'll add those excellent high rez images in a subsequent blog.


So, I'm certain the exciting line up of fabulous traditional matte art that follows will thrill, delight and astound not only my long time readers, but also the newer fans who are only now beginning to discover and appreciate this lost artform.   I understand that further original matte offerings from the same collection will be featured in subsequent auctions at a later date.  

Enjoy

NZ Pete

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***This post, and all 170 previous blogs known as 'Matte Shot', were originally created by Peter Cook for nzpetesmatteshot with all content, layout and text originally published at http://nzpetesmatteshot.blogspot.com/

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Illusion Arts matte painter Robert Stromberg works on the finishing touches of one of his many amazing paintings for STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE (1993).

Stromberg's huge 96" x 49" matte, painted on hardboard, or masonite as the Americans call it.

Close up







The John Goodman baseball bio-pic on 'Babe' Ruth, titled unsurprisingly THE BABE (1992), featured several mattes - some traditional and some digital.  This period view of Yankee Stadium was painted by Robert Stromberg.

Details




Final composite shot



Alfred Hitchcock made dozens of absolute bona-fide classic films through his career, though MARNIE (1964) certainly wasn't one of them.  Lots of matte shots though - with several completely invisible.  Albert Whitlock supplied the mattes, including this full frame painting with no live action.


This painting initially featured several painted parked cars and different shadow and foliage seasonal detail for an earlier sequence.  Whitlock repainted over certain portions to alter the shot for a later scene. A partially visible overpainted 'ghost' car can be seen at right.



The frame at right shows the original painting with more vehicles before Al's retouches.  Incidentally, I'm reliably informed that the front office at Universal reportedly disliked Whitlock's MARNIE mattes and requested he remove them all from his showreel.  Not sure how that directive sat with Albert? 



I've long admired Syd Dutton as a premier matte artist, and I have to admit that this beautiful BUCK ROGERS (1979) full painting is my absolute all time fave among all of Syd's vast output.  Oh, how I would so love to own this piece.  Genius!

The looseness of the brushwork, the application of tones and 'dots & dashes' of light are in themselves a thing of great beauty.  Love it!



It's all so Whitlock in inspiration and application.  The matte art appeared in numerous films or tv series under different guises, with in one instance apparently as an underwater city(!) as Bill Taylor once mentioned to me.





Syd Dutton's very large rendering of Wayne Manor for the film BATMAN FOREVER (1995)



I simply cannot get enough 'close up detail' of any matte art, no matter what it might be nor who may have handled the brush.

The final shot in the film is curiously 'flopped'.




By no means one of Mel Brooks' better films, HISTORY OF THE WORLD-PART ONE (1981) none-the-less was a matte aficionado's tour-de-force with so much fine work as supervised by Al Whitlock.  This terrific matte was one of Syd Dutton's renderings.


The key to making mattes work is undeniably the establishment of the correct Kelvin, or light temperature by pigment and wedge tests.  So many mattes over time have failed simply due to inaccurate sky sunlight intensity.  Fellow industry matte painter Ken Marschall told me this was always an issue for him and cameraman Bruce Block whereby they frequently would re-mask and double expose or burn in to make brighter skies in their matte painted shots.

Interestingly, I asked Syd a while back which mattes he was personally retaining, and I was mortified when he told me "none".  

Original location plate, black matte, and final original negative composite.


I'm a sucker for the classic haunted house genre of matte shots (and old movies), and THE ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1993) featured several great shots via matte art and others with miniatures.  Interestingly, the most fascinating one, with a dizzy birds-eye, extreme downview from way atop, is not part of the auction lot.

How it all pulled together on screen, with drifting clouds and a bird superimposed.

Painted detail



Now, THE SHADOW (1994) was a cool flick, and several of my readers have implored me to do a special blog on it (which I shall).  The movie had two firms supplying the many mattes - Matte World did some, while Illusion Arts made the rest, including this gorgeous matte.  Inexpicably, this magnificent Robert Stromberg painting never made the final cut - at least not in its original form.  For reasons that escape me, the powers that be had Stromberg scan this stunning masonite piece into the computer and laboriously rework tiny details such as roof tiles and elements using fairly primitive CG tools.  For my money, the original traditional matte would have worked just as well, if not better.

If I could choose two mattes from this selection as NZPete keepsakes, then it would be this one along with the earlier BUCK ROGERS night shot.



I'm constantly fascinated with the 'run off' - the edges of matte art - that area that is outside of the motion picture frame that we'd never see otherwise.  Yeah, I know.... seek professional help.  My family would concur!



The same Lamont Cranston mansion from THE SHADOW as seen on a moody and atmospheric night.  Another magnificent Robert Stromberg matte (yes please!) that never made the final cut as is.  Rather, the painting was once again scanned and re-jigged in the computer, though to my eye, to no tangible advantage other than as an academic exercise.  Love the brushwork and hues here.


Detail of what could have been...





An incredibly photo-realistic matte on masonite by an unknown Illusion Arts artist for the 1995 Quentin Tarantino film FOUR ROOMS (ever heard of this obscurity?)

It's the Hotel Mon Signor, in Los Angeles, and it's entirely painted by hand!





Martin Scorsese has turned out many great films though I feel AGE OF INNOCENCE (1993) was a cinematic gamble that never paid off.  Much tedium and wooden performances saved by a scattering of great mattes, such as this monumental Robert Stromberg vista of the museum interior.

Stromberg at work on the above show stopper.


Detail



Final composite.  I feel the film really cried out for Joe Pesci to enter an elegant, mannered ballroom set piece in full wise-guy garb, and stomp some poor shmuck to death for laughing at him.  Just sayin'.


There are a lot of Star Trek mattes in this auction - what Bill Taylor refers to as "the low hanging fruit" in as far as collectibles go.  This is a two piece matte with both foreground glass and background masonite panel. Both Albert Whitlock and Syd Dutton worked on this shot of Lutan's Palace from STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION (1987).  This image shows the foreground glass only.

And here is the rear component, painted on masonite, for the same shot.


Close up



Final shot with both planes of matte art as seen in show.







The Keannu Reeves 40's lovefest, A WALK IN THE CLOUDS (1995) wasn't a bad show, and in fact had a subliminal commercial effect on me as I just had to pause the VHS and rush out and buy some bottles of red wine back in the day!  Good thing it wasn't a 'rom-com' in a meth factory I suppose(!!)  :(


The film featured a number of nice matte shots of vineyards, beautiful 'donut night skies' and a thrillingly executed conflagration set piece with mucho visual trickery.




Master matte painter Syd Dutton shown here at Illusion Arts in the early 1990's with one of his many mattes and concept pieces for the tv series BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Syd's Chamber of the Winds matte painting from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987)



The shot was comped as a tilt down.





Another haunted house style matte from THE ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES.



It's the ideal fixer-upper for the home handyman.




One of many Syd Dutton mattes rendered for the short lived tv series TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY (1982), from the episode Trunk From The Past.

Final composite loks a million dollars.








The John Landis hit film COMING TO AMERICA (1988) included some stunningly elaborate matte and miniature combination visuals in the first reel, with the aerial arrival at the Palace of Zamunda being the highlight.  This is Syd Dutton's terrific original oil painted concept for the look of the palace.

Here is Syd's final matte painting - and a very large one at that due to a slow push in toward the live action area.  Incidentally, this was Eddie Murphy's best film by a long shot, and hit all the right notes.

Part of the final grand push-in composite as it appears on screen.










The excellent American Civil War drama GLORY (1989), had a couple of mattes by Syd Dutton.

Dutton's original concept art, and the location plate photography with black cardboard matte visible in front of the camera.

Final composite, with explosions added later as separately film elements.








Robert Stromberg's vast matte for the city of Ocampa from the series STAR TREK: VOYAGER (1995)





Original concept art for the Ocampa City matte.



Here is another matte from Mel Brooks' HISTORY OF THE WORLD-PART ONE (1981).  The matte is of Paris, with Notre Dame in mid view, and was painted on wood by Syd Dutton.

Final tilt down and push in composite.





A striking matte supervised by Syd Dutton, for the mildly entertaining THE RUNNING MAN (1987).

Final composite as a tilt upward shot.


All up, I think Illusion Arts must have cornered the market when it came to supplying futuristic city shots over the years.








A stylish matte painted sunset from Martin Scorsese's rehash of the classic, CAPE FEAR (1991)





Actual finished shot in film.




An evocative Syd Dutton matte from something called A GNOME NAMED GNORM (1992), which apparently is also known as UPWORLD, though I've never heard of either.  The live action went into the small blacked area on the left ledge.






As I mentioned, I've only included a few examples of Syd Dutton's conceptual paintings, and I couldn't go past this wonderful piece. It's an absolutely marvellous vfx concept from tv's STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (2001), for a Klingon city.  I love this as a stand alone painting, and I have to say, this concept is light years better than the eventual computer generated screen version, which lacked absolutely everything that this beautifully concieved illustration exudes in spades.

Worthy detail from a most worthy piece of artwork.

More worthiness that just hits the sweet spot for NZ Pete.




Yes, another matte from ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1993) - this time a full painting.  For the final scene they added subtle details such as a swing gently swaying, and clouds moving across the sky.  The shot was also timed much darker for the release prints.


Love the 1940's Universal Karloff-Lugosi vibe.





Old Chicago in a state of abandonment, circa 25th Century, as seen in the pilot and feature release BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY (1979).  Another great Dutton matte that I've always admired.  Interestingly, what was a partially blacked out matte painting for inclusion of live action actor and irritating 'cute' robot (lower left third) has been filled in here by Syd after the fact, with more painted in rubble.  Presumably done so as to be available as a stand alone full painting for another potential project.

Actual scene as it appeared in 1979.




Note the important line up notations along the edge of the frame, to assist the artist and the cameraman with aspect ratio line up for Academy ratio, TV, and standard theatre 1.85:1 projection.  This is to be found along the edges of a great many of the Ilusion Arts and older Universal Whitlock mattes.





One of the 75 odd mattes that Al Whitlock and team created for THE HINDENBURG (1975) which won the boys the Best Visual Effects Oscar, and deservedly so.

Composite with carefully retouched photo cut out of airship pasted onto glass; painted runway, mooring mast and background scenery, all matted flawlessly with foreground hanger and crowd.






The witless teen comedy MANNEQUIN 2: ON THE MOVE (1991) had two nice matte shots, with this one being a Syd Dutton painting.

Final composite, with a separate painted sky on another glass.




The Police Squad spin off NAKED GUN films with Leslie Nielsen were pretty funny.  This prison matte is from NAKED GUN 33 1/3 -THE FINAL INSULT (1994).  Robert Stromberg was artist.

Composite shot.







A spectacular futuristic cityscape by Syd Dutton for the tv series STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION.

Angel One





The sunset beyond Limerock lighthouse is one of a pair of glass painted mattes for a couple of shots in AGE OF INNOCENCE (1993) 

The foreground glass with painted lighthouse for AGE OF INNOCENCE.

Finished shots from same sequence with moving clouds, sun element, water sparkles and an animated boat.

Lighthouse detail

Flaming red sky artwork.






Far in the distance is 'New' Chicago, as seen from the 'wrong side of the tracks' which is 'old' Chicago.  A Syd Dutton matte from BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY (1979).

Superb brushmanship and feeling of backlight.  Love it!



Live action and matte art combined.




Another sci-fi flick here, though potentially fascinating never made much sense in the greater scheme of things.  MILLENNIUM (1989) had a few intreresting effects shots such as this finale vista.

Syd Dutton was artist on this.



Multi-element marry up, with numerous live action plates combined with Syd's painting to excellent effect.




The overwrought and interminable mini-series MASADA (1981) was, thankfully, recut later and retitled for theatrical release (as THE ANTAGONISTS) with vast swaths of celluloid excised.  Albert Whitlock painted numerous mattes for the show, such as this evening view of Rome.  For the curious, the 'extra' bit of painted sky visible here (and on many other mattes) was to facilitate Whitlock's moving skies soft splits gag.









The eighties television rehash of the cult series THE TWILIGHT ZONE featured mucho painted mattes and trick shots (though I've never seen it nor it's famous Rod Serling original and feel I must at least look at the old series).  The episode was Examination Day (and also included a beautiful daytime shot of this same scene) with Syd Dutton behind the brush.







Illusion Arts were contracted to supply several mattes for the excellent Richard Attenborough directed bio-pic of Charlie Chaplin titled, CHAPLIN (1992).  Syd Dutton was painter here and I understand Al Whitlock was involved too on the film.

Final shot.






This wonderful dank and dark grotto painted matte is from THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1991)

Comp with blue screened gondola and actors, with flame elements added as well as a curious CG simulated water element.







Roger Corman remains something of an icon, largely for discovering talent like Jack Nicholson, Peter Bogdanovich, Dick Miller and Francis Ford Coppola, to name but a few.  Roger made some really good Edgar Allen Poe chillers in the 1960's too!  This matte however, is from the bizarre and completely insane FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND (1990) - a film that is pretty much indescribable but does have some really nice effects shots, and many mattes.

The matte as a camera move looked great.




The film had another excellent futuristic city matte shot from Illusion Arts.  Let us hope that one also surfaces one day.





Illusion Arts furnished a lot of mattes for tv commercials, including this sprawling vista advertising EURO DISNEY in 1992.  Syd Dutton was painter here.

A very low rez frame from the final shot with cartoon mascots surfing the stars above Syd's art.


a closer view




Oh boy, is this one good or what?  A jaw dropping Robert Stromberg full painting of Malcor III from the series STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION (circa 1988).

From the NZ Pete archive is this rare photo of Stromberg blocking in the matte.  It is so rare to ever seen rough block ins of matte work, so I especially cherish this image from a (very) amateur painter's viewpoint at least.  So much technical info can be gleaned from photos such as this.  I'm fortunate to own a partially painted original ISHTAR matte by Mark Sullivan (another absolute 'ace' in the vast deck of celebrated matte artists by the way), and it's ever so fascinating to observe methodology.


For the final tv ready composite, live action people were doubled into the walkways.



Masterful... What more can I say?





A matte way up there among the pantheon of great trick shots was this staggeringly well done Albert Whitlock painting for Alfred Hitchcock's brilliant FRENZY (1971).

For years I'd had no idea this was a trick shot, and it wasn't until I read something about it in an old interview with Whitlock that it 'clicked'.  A remarkably accomplished effects shot that's on screen for all of about 2 or 3 seconds!  

Before and after, with original limited set, black matte, and Albert's glass painting.


Phenomenal detail work for such a quick cut.


I love this Hitchcock film... so savagely witty and relentlessly dark.  They'd never get away with a script like this nowadays, what with all of the insipidly woke politically correct 'caftan wearers' running the business.


Note the guards and even the sheen on the jailhouse floor.  I wish the eventual owner of this piece all the best, but do take care as it's on glass!


Syd Dutton painted this delightful fairytale kingdom for the Irwin Allen tv movie ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1985).

Final composite

I rather like matte painted castles of old







Concept art by Syd Dutton for the jungle lab matte shot in BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997)

A second variation of same that ultimately was the chosen view.

A full matte painting by Syd for BATMAN AND ROBIN.

Temporary shot of multiplane jungle lab matte with miniature foreground.




A supersonic US fighter jet from the film REAL GENIUS (1985), as painted by Syd Dutton.

At left is Dutton at work on another view of the same jet.  At right is the final shot of the above.


detail work




A signed Robert Stromberg matte painting from STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE (1993) of the city Cardassia Prime

Matte art with foreground elements and live action additions.






The late eighties series BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was loaded with fine matte shots.  This one, known as Vincent on the Bridge was featured in several episodes and is a full painting on glass by Syd Dutton.




Yet another example of grandeur of the time honoured medium, sadly now extinct.



Syd is pictured here with a conceptual matte painting he did for VAN HELSING (2004).  This painting would serve the basis for the eventual digitally created shot.




Here we have yet another city in ruins - and it's not the last one in this blog post folks - with this Syd Dutton piece being from an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE titled Voices of the Earth, from around 1988.






Now this one is a true mystery as nobody seems to able to recollect what it was painted for, nor who was responsible?

Detail







It amazes me as to how much matte work this company turned out through their tenure.  This one is from an episode of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE titled The Quickening, from the mid 90's.

Composite with live action plates.




Faintly visible here is the glass plate constructed to fit within the overall masonite support itself.  The glass serevs as a 'window' for the rear projected live action elements.




Another full painting from the first ADDAMS FAMILY feature, of the subterranean grotto.




Final shot with travelling matte live action.



Robert Stromberg was reponsible for this wonderful 71" x 42" glass matte of the planet Betazed for STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. 

Live action and painting matted as one.

I can't get enough of matte close up detail work.



I never really went for any of those off-shoot Trek shows.  I'm more of a 60's original series kind of a dude.



A key scene in the movie CHAPLIN featured a mammoth pull back from a pair of characters atop the second letter of the then reknowned Hollywoodland sign.  Mostly a giant photo blow up, augmented with painted extensions and additions.

The letter 'O' was prepared especially for process projected live action elements.


Frames of the motion shot.




The perplexing, though visually dazzling David Lynch sic-fi epic DUNE (1984), was a hit and miss effects show for the most part, but did have superb art direction, costume design and terrific special make up (by Gianetto DiRossi) to help it along.  Al Whitlock oversaw the dozen or so mattes, mostly painted by Syd, such as this view here.

The shot as a tilt upward across the vast crowd.





And here's another haunted house... this time a Syd Dutton shot for a Michael Jackson music video GHOSTS (1996)

As it appeared in the final product.







As described earlier, the Roger Corman flick FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND was some weird trip.  This full painting is another of Syd's.







A severely cracked glass sunrise from STAR TREK V - THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989).  Apparently the glass cracked during filming as a result of the intense heat from a specific spotlight positioned to create the 'sun' from behind the glass.  Thankfully, a second foreground painted glass of Yosemite's mountains was strategically placed to conceal the damage, with the result being a clean shot.

The completed dual plane glass shot.

Detail




For Alfred Hitchcock's final film, FAMILY PLOT (1976), this subtle matte provided a police precinct where none had existed previous.  Syd said that this was his first solo painting, and Bill once mentioned to me that it's likely Hitch came up with this shot just as an excuse to have Whitlock - his old friend and collaborator - involved for old times sake.

"The true special effect is the one that nobody ever notices" - Al Whitlock quote.





A star filled night over small town America, as realised by Robert Stromberg in this full painting for the Walter Matthau film DENNIS THE MENACE (1993).

Stromberg at work at Illusion Arts.






STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE matte painted environment of Trill, as painted by Robert Stromberg.










A large 72" x 42" glass matte painting of the Bat Cave made for BATMAN FOREVER (1995)

An early conceptual painting proposed for the Bat Cave.




Albert Whitlock was a master when it came to painting skies, as evidenced in hundreds of films and tv shows.  This is one of the seventy plus mattes he created for THE HINDENBURG (1975).

The flawless finished composite with Al's elaborately rendered drifting cloudscape.


Superb, yet effortless.




A subsequent Whitlock matte from the same film, again with drifting and somewhat malevolent looking clouds, quite befitting the forthcoming turn of events.

Final composite






The marathon miniseries MASADA had many mattes, some very low key such as this one.

At left is Al Whitlock on location in Israel surveying a take with his matte camera at the ready.  Middle shows the live action plate, while the frame at right is the invisible final blend.

Detail




A truly epic matte painting must be this splendid Robert Stromberg piece of the planet Bajor from the tv series STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE made in the mid nineties.

Live action people would be added to the walkway as well as a waterfall motion gag.




Final shot as part of a camera push in.





The second of the two superb mattes prepared for Hitchcock's deliriously delicious serial killer black comedy FRENZY (1971).  Matte art by the great Albert Whitlock.

Before and after showing the limited London location transformed into a night time Covent Garden.

Very close detail of Whitlock's brushwork.




Wonderful work here in detail which looked fine on TV, VHS and DVD, but comes up as unwatchably dark on BluRay, as so many seem to with 'modern' so-called remastering that throws original colour schemes all askew.




The second part of a multiple four painting massive pullback as seen in Mel Brooks' ROBIN HOOD - MEN IN TIGHTS (1993).



The camera POV pulls back from a close up ground building, across the vast landscape, through the clouds and above the Earth.

... and on it goes


Detail





Probably the most impressive shot in HISTORY OF THE WORLD was this Spanish Inquisition exterior.  Syd Dutton painted this beautiful vista.






A very large 96" x 72" masonite painting of the massive endless interior of the Borg ship from STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION, an episode titled 'Q Who'.  Both Syd and Albert shared brush duties on this one.  The live action was rear projected at upper right.

Syd's original concept painting.

The Borg painting as set up for final combination photography.  Some additional miniature elements are visible in the foreground, as are their supports, which will be outside of the final frame when completed.

Once again, it just makes my day being able to observe the up close painting styles of the artists concerned.




It's really all about 'dots and dashes' and flecks of paint to sell the shot.




Found on the reverse side of one of the other auction mattes is this painting from CHAPLIN (1992) that alters an existing location in Hollywood.

Final shot, though I suspect another foreground painting of the trees may have also been used to complete the shot.  Interestingly, I've yet to see the best shot in CHAPLIN turn up - a matte of New York with the Statue of Liberty - as seen by Robert Downey jr as he leaves America for good.






They just keep a comin' ... another awesome Dutton matte painting from STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION of Jouret IV as seen in the episode The Best Of Both Worlds.

The live action with painted surrounds as seen in a close up.

The complete shot as shown on tv.







One of a pair of mattes designed for the one shot from the film MILLENNIUM (1989).  This painting serves the upper half of the frame, while a second painting was applied to the lower half of the frame as part of a dramatic tilt down, augmented with a great deal of interactive 'lightshow' gags.

The actual tilt down shot in the film. I seem to recall Kris Kristofferson and pals going through some time warp or some bloody thing, into an alternate universe(?) - Or maybe I just dreamt it? None of it made particular sense anyway.






The lower painting as utilised in what was a VistaVision tilt composite.



Who ever told you that Studio 54 was dead and buried?  Fake news my friends!





From STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION comes this Syd Dutton matte of the research station on Gagarin IV.






I featured this in last month's blog, but as I have higher quality images, and the fact that it's in this auction, here it is again.  A wonderful vintage Albert Whitlock full matte from Universal's FOR LOVE OR MONEY (1963).  Just the fact that this delightful piece has survived near on six decades in prime condition is marvellous in itself.









A full matte painting by Syd of Velara III from the show STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION





Side by side before and afters of the closing VistaVision tilt to the heavens end credit shot from STAR TREK V - THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989).  A bold shot in execution, with the camera in close on the cast as they roast marshmallows(!), with a dramatic pull back and upward tilt.  Sadly it was much in vain, as the production chose to throw the end credit roll over the top of most of the complicated shot as I recall.

Close up of the lower matte art with small area for rear projected actors.

Same view when seen in the final cut.






An oddity here - a matte for a Dan Aykroyd tv pilot described as MARS BASE ONE (1988)






Matte art from STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION of Melona IV and Delta Rana IV in different episodes.





And here we have yet another stunner from the top shelf of matte art.  This Robert Stromberg painting was rendered in 1989 initially for STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION, and was later reused for a 1994 episode of STAR TREK-DEEP SPACE NINE.



An Illusion Arts staff member poses with the painting.  There are numerous carefully drilled out holes in the masonite panel to facilitate backlight gags.


You want detail?  We got detail.... And all for the low, low price of whatever the hell passes as currency in Tau Cygna and Volan II.




Still Trekkin' along here with another one from STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION.  This was painted in 1992 by Rob Stromberg and appeared in a few episodes with additional foreground dressing (see below).

An Illusion Arts technician dresses a miniature foreground set to complete the shot.




Robert Stromberg painted this top up matte of Starfleet Academy for STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION.

Finished matte shot


detail






I promised you another city in ruins didn't I?  This matte is one of Syd's which he painted in 1990 and would appear in episodes of both STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION and DEEP SPACE NINE a few years later. 






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Well folks, that's about it.  I do hope that some of you loyal fans of traditional matte artistry enjoyed this, and moreso, find yourselves in a position to acquire a genuine piece of trick shot history to enjoy and appreciate. 

Pete's Closing Remarks:
I'd like to close on a completely non-matte related topic (if there even is such a thing?).  I tend to watch mostly British and Scandanavian television series, and a great deal of material from Europe, as there is just such a freshness and originality to so much of the material and realism in the performances.  I have just finished all five seasons (that's fifty hours all up) of probably the best series I can recall seeing for decades - THE BUREAU (aka LE BUREAU DES LEGENDES) - an outstanding, multi-layered, densely plotted French spy thriller created by Eric Rochant, and starring Mathieu Kassovitz.  It's rare indeed for any film or tv show to be as meticulously concieved and written, with not a wasted word in the subtitled dialogue, nor a false note within any performance. The complex and tangled spider web like events of immersive Deep Cover centre around the DGSE, which is France's version of MI6 or the CIA.  This series gets my highest possible recommendation.  If you enjoy John LeCarre novels and films, and the excellent US series HOMELAND, then THE BUREAU is a must see.  You may well think twice before trusting anyone ever again.    Brilliant!

Pete


***This post, and all 170 previous blogs known as 'Matte Shot', were originally created by Peter Cook for nzpetesmatteshot with all content, layout and text originally published at  http://nzpetesmatteshot.blogspot.com/


8 comments:

  1. Hi Pete!

    Thank you for the thorough survey of Bill Taylor's upcoming matte painting auction via Heritage. This is one of those rare opportunities when traditional matte painting fans can own one or more screen-used examples for themselves of the admired art form, to include production concept sketches.

    This link bins the mattes together and in the order they will auction on 16-18JUL:

    https://entertainment.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=53+792+4294941626+4294967028&type=friend-consignorpreview-notice

    Thanks again, Pete!

    Tom

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  2. Hi Pete,
    thanks for pointing out this wonderful auction. As much as I would like to have a piece or two, I'm afraid my finances don't allow it. Also, I think that these pieces belong in a museum and not in private hands (geez, I sound like Indiana Jones already :) ).
    Why is there no institution that takes care of these art treasures and makes them accessible to the general public? This is a piece of film history and must not disappear so easily. My opinion.

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    1. Hi Thomas

      Yes, I'd generally agree with that sentiment. As long as these treasures are in the ownership of those who have a genuine passion for the medium, as opposed to mere 'speculators' (a vile sub-species that I personally abhor), I'm happy.
      Some as yet unannounced mattes will be going to the Motion Picture Academy.

      I recall visiting that wonderful film museum of yours in Berlin in 2008, hoping like crazy to see their original matte collection (several Whitlocks, some Danforths, and others), but was so saddened to discover the matte collection was in 'deep storage' somewhere in the basement, and not available for public appreciation.
      That's the downside of a museum collection - only a small percentage of their material is ever out on display.

      All the best my friend, and take care,

      Pete

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  3. NZ Pete here,

    I just thought I'd include here a nice note that Syd Dutton emailed me which I'm sure he won't mind me sharing:
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Hi Pete,
    Well, that was interesting thumbing thru your latest blog. My whole life flashed before my eyes. My head started to spin with a rush of memories, parts of conversations, even long forgotten odors.
    I hope the auction goes well and the paintings find good homes.

    Life is returning to a something that resembles normal in California. So life is pretty good.
    I hope you are well and maybe considering picking up the brush again. I just started my first painting in awhile.

    Syd

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  4. Regarding your upcoming piece on THE SHADOW ... I interviewed miniature DP Tim Angulo for a story that never ran (the website shut down), and there were a few sentences from him about that. If you can use any of this quote from him, feel free:

    The Shadow was shot on the Chandler stage down at the Marina. Those buildings were all recycled from The Hudsucker Proxy. We did a lot of forced perspective work on Shadow, but the most fun on that was for shots inside of this pneumatic air tube, like a department store where the receipt get sucks up the tube. [Mark] Stetson’s guys built what I called the PVC pipe rollercoaster and set it up in our parking lot. We made up a little cart for the camera, which was I think an Eyemo, and we ran that inside that tube many times, and got some pretty terrific footage.

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    1. Hey Kevin

      Thanks for that... it's a neat bit of insider info, and I'll use it when I get around to doing that article.

      Pete

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  5. Duncan Cameron21 July 2021 at 08:28

    I found a link to your incredible site a few days ago on Twitter and have been enthralled ever since. I'm slowly working my way through the posts and am gobsmacked by the wealth of visual delights and historical detail. Would love to see posts on The Shadow and Green Dolphin Street. Please keep up the great work. So glad I discovered this invaluable site. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Duncan

      Many thanks indeed for your kind words. I do appreciate this sort of feedback, as it makes it all seem worthwhile.

      I've reported in much detail on GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (one of the all time great fx movies) in several previous bloggings, such as:

      http://nzpetesmatteshot.blogspot.com/2012/03/green-dolphin-street-oscar-winning.html

      There are others about the miniatures etc, though you'd have to go through the month by month index on the right side of the header to find them. A should do a re-visit as I now have beautiful BluRay frames.

      I will do THE SHADOW soon, due to popular demand.

      Enjoy!

      Pete

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