George Hurrell wanted to become a painter but found in photography a better way of making a living. Having established his studio in Los Angeles, it was his photographs of Ramon Navarro that helped introduce the American photographer to Hollywood. When Norma Shearer wanted the title role in The Divorcée, her own husband, Irving Thalberg, MGM’s production chief, thought she wasn’t sexy enough for the part. She thus hired George Hurrell to prove otherwise. Used to play music, dance and sing to put his sitters at ease during his sessions, the photographer managed to make the actress enjoy playing the seductive temptress. Thanks to the sensual portraits, she earned the part and…an Oscar. At a time when American audiences found in cinema the glamour and fantasy the Great Depression was depriving them from, George Hurrell developed the visual vocabulary and publicity that established Hollywood celebrities’ aura thanks to his sculpting of faces: ‘the most essential thing about my style was working with shadows to design the face instead of flooding it with light.’ A favorite of Joan Crawford and Jean Harlow, he managed to work once with Greta Garbo who always refused to reveal her inner personality. It was only when George Hurrell accidentally tripped during the session that the Divine cracked a sincere smile. Following World War II, the Golden Age of Hollywood was over and it was only in the early 1980s that glamour was sought again and the photographer turned such celebrities as Grace Jones and Sharon Stone into contemporary icons.