December 27th, 2009

carole lombard 07
  • vp19

Large in size, large in price

Seeing a new Carole Lombard portrait is in itself thrilling. Learning more about it only adds to the satisfaction.

So it is the case with the latest photo I present to you:

I think you'd agree that shot is stunningly elegant...and the seller of this item proudly notes that it was taken "by famed photographer ALEX KAHLE, and has his stamp on the back." Alex Kahle may indeed be famed, but that doesn't mean I would automatically know who he was.

So I did some investigation, and learned Kahle did much work for RKO, and in fact was trained by the legendary Ernest Bachrach. (Kahle's listing at the Internet Movie Database shows he took photos of a few dozen RKO features -- including arguably its two most renowned productions, "King Kong" and "Citizen Kane.") He took this shot of Katharine Hepburn, Jean Dixon and Edward Everett Horton for the 1938 film "Holiday":

Kahle isn't listed as a staff photographer on any of the four films Lombard made at RKO, but he apparently took some general publicity photos of her. (Consequently, this was taken between 1939 and early 1941 at the latest.) Kahle's date of birth isn't shown at IMDb, though he apparently died in August 1968.

The seller says the Lombard portrait is oversized (10.5" x 13.5"), is an original, and is in "very fine" condition (some wear on the left top corner). All that explains why he's selling it for $700 under the eBay "buy it now" option; it will be available until just after 12:55 p.m. (Eastern) on New Year's Eve (Thursday).

Have that kind of money to spend? Or are you just curious? Either way, go to to check it out.
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