Landy Hales: Layered Posters

Martino Gallery, 2nd floor

Selections from a private collection of works by the late Landy Romain Hales, an Anne Arundel County artist known for his unique technique of layered poster design during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Painstakingly cut by hand from composition board, fitted and glued in layers, and then painted with Tempera paint, these brightly colored pieces highlight local images as well as holiday themes and timely topics of general interest. The works in the exhibit were curated by his granddaughter Betty McNulty.

Biography:

With no formal art training Landy Romain Hales moved from a farming childhood on the Mountain Road in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, to his own sign shop in Baltimore at the age of 19, to being the premier display artist in New York City during the 1920’s and ‘30’s. Mr. Hales’ shop produced 100 4-foot tall wooden soldiers and detailed models of stage sets along 5th Avenue for marketing “Balieff’s Chauve Souris” Russian musical show; he went on to work with other theaters and commercial enterprises in New York and elsewhere. He decorated the major department stores including Macy’s, Gimball’s and Saks. His patented layer posters filled all 32 of Saks’ windows for 4 months while the interior of their new store was being completed. The animated Christmas Around the World windows that he researched and created for Macy’s aroused critical and popular acclaim. He was the first to gain an exclusive right to use Walt Disney’s characters in commercial products, and he devised popular layer poster puzzles and craft kits for children.

Returning with his family to Round Bay, Severna Park, Maryland, Mr. Hales retired and began to study on his own the works of famous artists. He said, “I have these ideas in my head, and I want to develop them in my medium,” and he produced over 60 works as individual layer posters, including his interpretations of Picasso’s cubism, Matisse’s classical French style and Warhol’s pop art.