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John Alvin (American)

Paintings

Birth Place: United States

Biography:

John Alvin was an American artist and painter who is most famous for his movie posters. Producing images for over 200 films, Alvin’s extremely evocative style became a mainstay in the industry over the course of his career. Indeed, Alvinesque is now shorthand for a work that is both technically proficient and extremely emotional. Perhaps best known for his work with Disney, he also produced iconic cinematic posters for all of the major movie studios. 

Graduating from the Art Center College of Design in 1971, Alvin wasted almost no time getting into film. His first poster was for the Mel Brook’s movie Blazing Saddles (1974). In 1982, he’d garner widespread acclaim when he created the poster for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Inspired by Michelangelo’s David, it showed the titular E.T.’s glowing finger outstretched to touch Elliott’s hand. He would continue to produce posters up until his too-soon death in 2008, leaving a legacy of beautiful, evocative images that continue to inspire a new generation of movie-goers. 

How many posters did John Alvin create?

John Alvin worked on over 200 movie campaigns, often contributing multiple pieces of artwork for each campaign. Though he is best known for his pieces with blockbuster franchises like Star Wars (Lucasfilm), Disney, and The Harry Potter Series, he also contributed to a number of one-off films and musicals that are considered some of his most iconic work. 

How often do John Alvin images come up for auction?

John Alvin's images often come up for auction because of their high collectibility. His work has an extremely faithful following with curators and collectors of cinema art. Since his death in 2008, his work has become even more popular, with many of his pieces of concept art coming up for auction and sale domestically and abroad. 

How much is John Alvin's art worth?

While some prints and original images have gone for hundreds of thousands of dollars, usually his concept art sells between $12,000 - $50,000 USD. A recent piece of concept art from the Disney film, Aladdin (1992) was sold for $14,000. John Alvin’s work is often highly sought after by collectors of specific film genres. This, plus the high quality of his work often drive these prices and make them extremely valuable. 

Which John Alvin painting is the most valuable?

An image from his campaign for E.T. the Extraterrestrial sold for nearly $400k USD. His work with Star Wars is some of the most collected on the movie souvenir market and his piece for the musical, The Phantom of the Paradise (1974) was included in the Smithsonian’s collection for their Images of an Era exhibit. 

What are the most famous movie posters by John Alvin?

Over the course of his career, John Alvin created some of the most iconic images in cinema history. His work with Disney (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King), Twentieth Century Fox (Star Wars, Cocoon, Alien) and Warner (Blade Runner, Batman Returns, Blazing Saddles) are all beloved by their respective fan bases. 

 


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