Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Windmills of Ralph Hulett's Mind

Ralph Hulett windmills
© by the Estate Of Ralph Hulett. Click on the thumbnail to see a full-sized image.

In late 1962, a television director and documentarian named Gunther Von Fritsch came to artist Ralph Hulett's door and introduced himself. Besides being the original director on The Curse of the Cat People and the helmer of various t.v. shows, Gunther made travel films for SwissAir. He wanted to use Ralph as the subject of a film he was scheduled to make in Greece and Israel under the sponsorship of the airline.

Swiss Air would pay all travel and lodging expenses, Ralph would paint, and Von Fritsch would film him doing it...

Artist Hulett, always game for a new adventure (especially if he could tote his easel and paint brushes with him) accepted the proposal. And off he and Gunther Von Fritsch went to the Mediterranean.

For the next three months, Ralph Hulett painted landscapes the length and breadth of Greece and Israel (the painting above -- from one of the Greek islands -- is an oil rendered later back in California from a field study.) Fourteen hours of 16mm color footage was shot, then cut down to a half-hour documentary titled Shalom Yassu. Somewhere, in some cupboard or other, lies a print of the epic. I haven't seen it in years, but I remember it fondly.


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