Eddie Vitch did more than capture his subject’s looks and personality in a few graceful lines, his caricatures often concealed witty references beneath its artful surface. One of his trademark talents was the ability to incorporate celebrities’ initials into their portraits, rendering them as integral elements of their facial features.
The twin Gs of Greta Garbo appear as her eyes and famously arched eyebrows. Joan Crawford’s J curls to form her chin. And one of Clark Gable’s initials is hiding in his ear.
When Vitch drew Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s portrait (one of only a handful he created from a photograph rather than directly from life), the renowned monogram makes up the nose, mouth, and one of FDR’s eyes, perfectly capturing his expression.
This was just one of Vitch’s many talents, some camouflaged and others in plain view.
Can you find Charlie Chaplin’s initials?
Can you detect the Ginger Rogers? (hint: it’s not in the face).
You can find that in the book!
Vitch, the book of his fascinating drawings and details of his extraordinary life, is now available CLICK HERE and on Amazon. Additionally, we will sell discounted copies (and sign a copy) at film festivals and special screenings. We invite you to get a copy and join the hunt for hidden initials in the faces of the famous.
Alex Gard was the caricaturist at the famous (still operating) Manhattan eatery – Sardi’s. Gard drew film legend Joan Crawford, as did Vitch.
Gard’s caricature of Crawford is a wink at the star’s jealousy of Greta Garbo, whom she is viewing in the mirror. It is also a nod at Snow White and the envious queen. Gossip columns in the 1930’s reported that Crawford was obsessed with Garbo and her stardom.
Gard’s caricature tells a story of Hollywood’s tough competition between actresses.
Vitch’s caricature captures Crawford’s complex persona, omitting some details, leaving the viewer room to complete it on their own.
You can read more about the celebrity caricaturists of that era in the upcoming Vitch book by Sigal Bujman.
FYI- In the Vitch caricature, Crawford’s initials are hidden in her face. (The J is her chin and the C is one of her curls).
When Vitch went to NY in 1931 he started drawing caricatures of clients at a famous Manhattan Speakeasy. These were the Depression years in America but Vitch not only managed to earn good money (a fortune at the time) but he also caught the attention of a journalist who upon seeing his work called him “genius”.
More on that in the upcoming Vitch book!
In the meantime, please visit our expanding gallery page on our website, where you can see Vitch’s work and the stars that he perfectly captured in a few strokes of black lines.
Vitch’s portrait of Marlene Dietrich captures perfectly the mysterious star, who navigated herself in Hollywood on her own terms.
Vitch knew her personally. He had a small part in Blue Angel (1930), the film that made her an international star.
In this article, published in The New Movie Magazine in March, 1933, Dietrich is seen with her sensational masculine pants, a headache for the Hollywood studios at the time, who wanted to keep the ladies off male attire. She did not listen. She was her own woman!
He was one of he handsomest men in Hollywood (pictured here with Mary Pickford). Gary Cooper was the actor with the trademark western roles, slow talk and calculated performance. He was tall, elegant and masculine.
One of his striking features was his piercing eyes. Vitch drew his caricature with hollow eyes, leaving out the pupils as if immortalizing Cooper’s distant stare.
He dedicated his signature to both the Brown Derby and Vitch.
Vitch had an agreement with Bob Cobb that he can order anything on the menu and just sign… It impressed his Hollywood dates.
‘What? you can order anything you like? and why is your signature on all the caricatures?’… They thought he was the owner of the place.