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May032012

SOFT-CORE ARTISTRY 

The poster for a forgotten 21 year-old X-rated movie is finding new love amongst online traders.

In the world of hand-painted movie-poster art, the name Olivia De Berardinis does not sit alongside such prolific standard bearers like Drew Struzan, Reynold Brown or Mort Künstler.

Though one of America’s most renowned modern artists, notably famous for her iconic interpretations of burlesque queen Bettie Page, De Berardinis - 'Olivia', as she is known to her legion of fans - has had limited success in the world of film artwork. Her long-established commerciality comes from her monthly contribution to Playboy magazine and a vast industry of by-products that stemmed from 30 years of high-profile artistry.

But a poster created for David Buckley’s 1981 adult film Angel Buns – an assignment she took in an effort to establish herself in the film industry during the early days of her commercial art career -  has become a rare collector’s piece. Featuring a Berardinis-ed version of leading lady, early 80’s porn superstar Veronica Hart (Paul Thomas Anderson honoured her legacy by casting her as ‘Judge’ in Boogie Nights), the artwork is a typically ethereal representation of her subjects sexuality, largely foregoing the extreme nature of the X-rated film’s subject matter in favour of soft-focus effects and suggestive but tasteful curves.

De Berardinis would have further opportunity to establish herself in the competitive world of movie-poster artistry, but her job assignments were attached to films whose reputations sullied all involved – John Derek’s soft-core version of Tarzan, starring his stunning but talent-challenged wife Bo, and one of Hollywood’s most troubled productions of the last half-century, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger’s The Marrying Man.    

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