Here’s Looking at You, Anna Holm!

An article by
Krister Collin, image archivist, the Stills and Poster Archive of the Swedish Film Institute
Still image from the feature Landskamp from 1932, Ingrid Bergman is the second person from the left

The artist Andy Warhol created in 1983 three colour prints portraying Ingrid Bergman, based on stills from a couple of her films. Krister Collin at our Image Archive has discovered that somthing is amiss with how one of these images ususally is described.

Left: “Ingrid Bergman – With Hat” (© Andy Warhol 1983) and right: “A Woman’s Face” (© AB Svensk Filmindustri 1938, photographer: Louis Huch)

When Ingrid Bergman died in 1982 it was exactly 50 years since she as a 16-year-old made her film debut in the feature film Landskamp (‘Struggle for the Country,’ Gunnar Skoglund, 1932) in the role of “Girl in line for application for employment at the Estelle Fashion House”. During the following half century she garnered no less than three acting Oscars—only Katharine Hepburn won more. Her demise naturally became big news on a global scale. A short while thereafter the Swedish gallery owner Per-Olov Börjeson had a meeting with Andy Warhol and they happened to discuss the death of their mutual idol, and a possible collaboration. “It was during this conversation that the idea of a series of graphic prints to honour the memory of a great artist whom we both admired, was born”, as Börjeson later wrote. The result was the triptych of Ingrid Bergman portraits by Warhol titled “The Nun”, “With Hat” and “Herself” that Galerie Börjeson the following year published in 250 copies, the sets of which in recent times are selling for close to the 1,000,000 kronor mark at Swedish auctions.

From a Swedish film history standpoint, the portrait titled “With Hat” is the most interesting. Why? Because the original photograph Warhol based it on is taken from a Swedish feature film!

The portrait was taken by Louis Huch, the resident atelier still photographer employed at the studio Svensk Filmindustri in order to promote A Woman’s Face (Gustaf Molander, 1938).

But neither Svensk Filmindustri, Molander nor Huch has ever received any credit for this Warhol work because it always—if the origin of the image is at all mentioned—is stated that the work “With Hat” is taken from the Hollywood classic Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942). When the triptych was introduced, Börjeson himself wrote in his introduction, “The titles of the three prints are: ‘The Nun’ (from The Bells of St Mary’s), ‘With Hat’ (from Casablanca) and ‘Herself’.” Since then, at auctions, exhibit notes and articles it has been established that the image “With Hat” stems from Casablanca, despite its actual origin being an internationally obscure film shot in Råsunda outside of Stockholm.

Maybe there are true Casablanca fans among the buyers of the work who might have reason to feel a bit cheated when they unknowingly gaze upon the countenance of the blackmailer Anna Holm from Molander’s film instead of Ilsa Lund, Bergman’s iconic starring turn alongside Humphrey Bogart.

(published in november 2021)

The Films in the Article

Click on the films' titles to read more about them in the Swedish Film Database, and to see many more images from the two Swedish films

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