Jan 28, 2021 - Sale 2556

Sale 2556 - Lot 149

Price Realized: $ 2,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,200 - $ 1,800
TOM H. JOHN (20th century)
"Color Me Barbra." Together, a group of 7 assorted set designs and backdrops for Barbra Streisand's television special of the same name, broadcasted on CBS, March 30, 1966. Some are carbon paper printed onto larger paper with ink, paint, and additional notations applied; remaining are paint and ink on paper or board. Average approximate size for 4 larger sheets is 510x610 mm; 20x24 inches. Remaining are varied in size, with the smallest sheet measuring 230x300 mm; 9x11 3/4 inches. All signed or initialed, with "Color me Barbra" and other inscriptions in image and margin area. Paper is slightly wrinkled with some hard creases and tears on edges. Three artworks are matted.

"Color Me Barbra" was Barbra Streisand's second television special, and was aired in conjunction with her seventh studio album of the same name. The special was nominated for five Emmys, including "Individual Achievements in Art Direction and Allied Crafts - Art Direction," for which Tom H. John was the nominee.

The 60-minute program was split into three acts and was filmed in color, a novelty for television at the time. The lot includes designs from the opening museum segment (2 sheets), circus segment (4 artworks and 1 photograph), and the concert segment (1 sheet).

The crew filmed the opening act at The Philadelphia Museum of Art (they originally intended to film at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but were denied permission). Two of the three brand new Marconi color cameras gave out as soon as filming began, which left only one camera for the entire opening section. Streisand spoke about taping at the museum in March 1966: "It's not easy to do a musical show in a museum but I got a kick out of asking them to move a million dollars worth of paintings simply to provide an appropriate backdrop for a song. It was fun, but it took so much time [that] technicians were falling asleep at the cameras.'

The second circus segment was filmed with live animals. Streisand recalled: 'Chaos threatened again. The lights were hell on the penguins, a lion broke out of its cage, and a baby elephant roared so loud that a nearby llama nearly suffered a heart attack.'

Tom H. John worked as a production designer for more than 200 major productions, including numerous Broadway stage plays and musicals, major motion pictures, and television series and specials. Over the course of his career, John has received 5 Emmy Awards and the prestigious Peabody Award. He currently works as a fine artist in New York City.