Historic Landmark Collection Celebrating 100 Years of African American Cinema Goes on Sale
Photo Credit: JOSEPHINE BAKER FOLIES BERGERE - 1927 - Baker’s first film – she was 21 years old and already a legend throughout all of Europe. (PRNewsfoto/San Francisco Art Exchange)
Film

Historic Landmark Collection Celebrating 100 Years of African American Cinema Goes on Sale

JOSEPHINE BAKER FOLIES BERGERE - 1927 - Baker’s first film – she was 21 years old and already a legend throughout all of Europe. (PRNewsfoto/San Francisco Art Exchange)
JOSEPHINE BAKER FOLIES BERGERE (1927): Baker’s first film, she was 21 years old and already a legend throughout all of Europe (via San Francisco Art Exchange)

San Francisco Art Exchange LLC (SFAE) has announced that it has been selected to exclusively represent the sale of the Separate Cinema Archive: a comprehensive collection of such singular unprecedented importance that there is no other remotely like it in world. The archive is comprised of 35,000 items, including rare vintage posters, lobby cards and photographs originating from 30 countries, that chronicles the historic and often turbulent story of African American cinema, from the beginning of the silent era right on through to the present day.

Beginning with the gift of a single movie poster in 1972, archive founder John Kisch, a renowned photographer and author, made it his mission to weave the narrative of the African American film industry – black actors, writers and directors – and over the next four decades he amassed a collection that is a true one of a kind, representing the single largest archive of black-related movie posters and photos anywhere in the world.

The Separate Cinema Archive tells both the story of the black filmmaking industry of the 20th Century as well as that of the global black experience. Each poster and photograph brings forth a new chapter in the struggle for equality, and with every movie depicted, iconic heroes emerge – writers, directors, actors and characters who fought against stereotyping and marginalization from both Hollywood and society as a whole.

“History relies on evidence, and the Separate Cinema Archive provides that,” says Theron Kabrich, who, along with Jim Hartley, founded and serves as director of the SFAE. “This collection pays respect to the contributions of the filmmakers and artists who literally changed history through their work.”

He continues, “It’s important to note that the greatest stories in American history take place in a country that was built on slavery and involuntary servitude… A lot of people, certainly in Hollywood, made a lot of money based on the back of that history. You see that in rich detail throughout the narrative of this collection in that it pays homage to a significant part of the population that was involved with entertainment and storytelling. And that part of the population was either marginalized or forgotten completely, ridiculously.”

Adds Hartley: “I had two reactions when I first saw the collection. The first was how significant it is and the gravity that it represents. It was so beautiful in ways I hadn’t imagined. And the other thought was how grateful and honored Theron and I feel to be able to be the fiduciary custodians of it for a brief time. We want to make sure that it receives its rightful home and that people are able to witness it in the appropriate manner.”

Parts of the archive have been featured as traveling exhibits at film festivals, corporate galleries, and art institutions, but for the first time the archive is available for sale as a complete property.

The book “Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art” poignantly illustrates the collection. Published by Reel Art Press, the volume was released in 2014 to stellar reviews.

San Francisco Art Exchange is the sole gallery authorized to sell the Separate Cinema Archive. Founded in 1983 by Theron Kabrich and Jim Hartley, San Francisco Art Exchange LLC (SFAE) has represented historic pop culture artworks created by over 200 of the world’s most accomplished and significant artists and photographers. Recognized as market pioneers and premier purveyors of original pop iconography, SFAE has held over 100 major curated exhibitions highlighting music, film, cultural movements, historic figures and social issues.

The gallery’s most recent project was the sale of a rare portfolio of photographs of President John F. Kennedy celebrating the centennial of his birth in cooperation with the Kennedy Foundation, with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the foundation.

For more information: http://www.sfae.com/.

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