Arnold Friberg's Original Eight Faces of Moses from the 1956 Film THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Up for Auction Today
Boston, Mass. -- RR Auction presents the Eight Faces of Moses collection created by renowned artist Arnold Friberg for Cecil B. DeMille's masterful 1956 remaking of The Ten Commandments in a live auction event that will take place this Saturday at RR Auction's Boston Gallery.
"For 60 years the paintings were unrecognized as Friberg's work -- in fact they were misattributed, believed to the work of the films makeup artists," says Lawrence Jeppson, a distinguished historian and art consultant, who made the discovery earlier this year after viewing the paintings.
Since the late 1960s, the paintings have been in The Possession of the Westmore family and attributed to Wally Westmore himself. Westmore's grandson, had assumed his grandfather was the author of the unsigned artwork. Eventually, the creator of the artwork became a disputed topic -- the auction house reached out to Jeppson for his expertise on Friberg's works.
Wally and Frank Westmore, makeup artists on the film, used the original oil paintings as the templates for Charlton Heston's makeup as he transformed from a young slave to a wizened prophet, they are among the finest pieces of Hollywood art ever to come to market.
One of the greatest challenges in believably telling the epic tale was in Charlton Heston's transformation as Moses. Spanning an entire lifetime -- from his days as a young slave in Egypt to his final encounter with God on Mt. Nebo as an old, wizened man -- the legendary actor's face needed not only to age, but also to reflect within it the experiences that shaped him.
Within each image, one can see the precision of Friberg's celebrated style from top to bottom. His meticulous detail brings to life every feature, with the culmination of subtle changes telling not only the natural story of aging, but also revealing hints of the remarkable events that brought Moses to each stage in the film. Though unsigned, each painting holds Friberg's unique calligraphy across the top indicating the period of the prophet's life that it depicts.
In 1957, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Friberg receiving a nomination for his work as chief artist, set and costume designer.
"Friberg was one of the greatest illustrative artists of the 20th Century, and this collection is one of the most important discoveries in decades," says Lawrence Jeppson.
"These museum-quality portraits capture not only his renowned attention to detail and stunning precision-especially with historic and religious subjects-but also the allure of one of the most celebrated films of all time." says Bobby Livingston Executive VP at RR Auction. The preauction estimate is for the lot to sell for between $600-800,000.
The Original Eight Faces of Moses collection by Arnold Friberg will be auctioned during a lived auction event that is scheduled to take place today, July 19 at 1pm, by Massachusetts based, RR Auction. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.