Portrait of Bette Davis by Bill Seay 1950s Pastel and Gouache SOLD P730

This is really a knockout, and a beautiful likeness. Bill Seay (1922-2012) started his working life as Billy Seay, child actor, in the late silents and early talkies (“Kid Millions” with Eddie Cantor, “Topaze” with John Barrymore, and “The Unknown” with Lon Chaney and the young Joan Crawford, are the most noted of these films), then followed in his father’s footsteps as an artist, joining the designer Sacha Brastoff in his studio from 1952 to 1959, remaining a life-long friend and co-author of the definitive book on Brastoff’s work, soon striking out on his own as a portrait painter (clients included Judy Garlard, Crawford and the ill-fated George Reeves of the Superman series on TV), finally becoming an antiquaire and decorator until his passing at the age of 90. This stunner was part of his estate. High Hollywood Heavenly. Art measures 37″ x 48″, framed.


Ms Davis was astonishingly specific about the hairstyles of the characters she played. As far as we can tell she never repeated one. The match here is with the character she played in “June Bride” (1948.) But the coat seems to be from the “The Great Lie”. WE think it might have been a prop painting.