Capital Art and Capitol Vault’s vintage photography offers collectors an opportunity to own pop-cultural history as seen in this artistic collage feature by Michele Hogan, as vintage photography collector Rob Giardinelli learns


“Vintage photography is a unique experience compared to other art forms because are of capturing a moment in time that can never be recreated. You get a unique peak into history and the lives of people we are ultimately so fascinated with,” muses Tia Mueller, President of Austin’s Capitol Vault. “Although time should remove us from these people and events we find ourselves holding on to what we presume to be a Hollywood’s Golden Era. This in turn constantly creates a stream of increased value for each individual negative. In fact, vintage photography brings together art enthusiasts as well as anyone with an interest in the idols of our past. Not only do you have the opportunity to own a beautiful piece of artwork but also forever have an important part of history.”

We all know the types of photos to which Moeller is referring – whether it’s the legendary 1955 film The Seven Year Itch where Marilyn Monroe poses with director Billy Wilder as her white dress flows above the grate, or the 1956 photo as Elizabeth Taylor coyly posing for the camera filming the legendary Texas film Giant in Marfa… or photos from the early 1960’s showcasing the Rat Pack conducting one of their legendary performances at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas. These iconic images are able to enable us to enter a world of wonder, dreams and inspiration to become something greater than we already are. Texans who are collectors of vintage and iconic Hollywood symbols now have a place to acquire these photographic gems right in their own backyard.


Since 1938 Capital Art has been preserving the images and negatives of the world’s most beloved celebrities and pop-cultural icons that has resulted in one of the world’s largest collections of iconic vintage photography. Capitol Vault, a division of Capital Art, will be partnering with select galleries in a limited number of markets including Austin-based Capitol Vault, who will be soon embarking on a major renovation of their Congress Avenue gallery location to create a state of the art gallery within a shadows distance of Texas’ own state capitol building.

Over the past few years, vintage photography has become a red hot market for collectors, with the range of collectors as varied as the subjects themselves who are focused on a particular movie star, athlete, musician, or someone seeking great moments captured in time. A substantial vintage photography collection is just as unique, varied and interesting as those who collect other forms of art. On collecting vintage photography as an investment, vintage photography expert Stuart Scheinman and President of Capital Art notes, “The reason photography is such a great investment is because now with smart devices everyone is a photographer. You have over one billion people globally that are now involved in the art of photography. Even if a small percentage of this group start collecting photography it is still a huge number and will continue to push the value and demand in photography upwards.”

Collecting what you love, and it increasing in value is an interesting proposition. Like those other forms of art photography has its own set of criteria to eye the value of the perfect piece. Collectors can choose to buy reprints or originals – which, of course, are much more expensive. Ultimately what a collector wants to do with an image will determine whether a copyrighted image or non-copyrighted image will work best for their collection.


As any reader of this magazine knows, we love to give back to a high level and those who helm the best events are always looking for new and novel ways to engage their donors with unique experiences that encourage their best patrons to give more.

Capitol Art has already begun partnering with organizations in the Austin area to provide one of the kind experiences that align with the spirit of their organization – whether the theater near you has an autobiographical play in the coming season can conduct a showing of vintage images for that icon; an animal organization where a showing can feature celebrities with animals; an organization named after a sports hero can feature vintage sports photography – the possibilities of how organizations can creatively fundraise are endless.


For the collector who is seeking to collect images of their favorite iconic hero or to engage us to facilitate your organizations next great event, contact the Capital Vault team at


A true star was born when these Texas-born glamour girls graced the silver screen. The Golden Age of Hollywood comes roaring back to life with these leading ladies as artist Michele Hogan captures them in her exclusive artful collages with the help of Austin-based vintage photography source Capitol Vault and Capital Art. Lance Avery Morgan shares his vintage insight on the stars and the style


Hailing from far East Texas, her heart of gold matched her tap dancing speed, as she danced into the hearts of her post war MGM fans. Miller’s porcelain skin, jet black hair, and heavy eye make-up were her trademarks, while her flowing costumes and contribution to the invention of pantyhose set the style for many women of her era. To honor Miller’s contribution to dance, the Smithsonian Institution displays her favorite pair of tap shoes, which she playfully nicknamed “Moe and Joe”.


She was an Oscar-winning Texas native who represented millions of women with her “work hard, marry well and everything might turn out well” persona in most of her films like The Women and Mildred Pierce. Sophisticatedly self-assured, she evolved with all of fashion’s passing fancies enough to have an enduring career decades past her contemporaries. Furs, hats, gloves and anything to adorn her outfits consistently set the era’s style trends.


The 20th Century Fox star knew her way around roles with mobster themes, or playing a woman from an exotic land and time. She became a GI Joe pin-up favorite with a leading turn in A Letter To Three Wives and The Mark of Zorro, and earned a bobbysoxer following, too. Those sparkling gowns and crisply-tailored suits still inspire fashions for any woman whose mind is clearly her own, much like Darnell’s film heroines.


Glamorous and every inch the lady, she did everything Astaire did, but in heels and backwards, dancing into the hearts of millions during the Depression, through WWII and beyond. In hits like Carefree and her Oscar performance in Kitty Foyle, her sleek allure was beautifully showcased in gowns, dresses and wild accessories that accentuated any outfit from boardroom to ballroom. Plus, she could out-act any male lead who tried to conquer her powerful presence.


The Panhandle-born beauty with impossibly long legs danced into the world’s hearts with unstoppable glamour as an
MGM trophy star whose talents also aimed toward the dramatic. From Singing In The Rain to Party Girl, she sizzled with the best of
Hollywood’s Golden Era leading men who were always entranced by her Texas beauty. Her style, reflective of the times,
was ladylike… with a sophisticated edge usually accentuated with full skirts and a daring décolletage. She also knew how to wear statement jewels that showcased her own, inimitable radiance.


From the plains of North Texas she journeyed from a rural life to become one of the most glamorous of glamour girls during the 1930s and the war. Films about women in peril like Nora Prentiss and Woman On The Run kept her on the screen for decades, amongst the changing fashions of the era. Her red-headed bad girl/good girl signature parts were played in satiny gowns that matched her smooth and snappy wit which often stopped her thespian suitors in their tracks.


Appearing in Gone With The Wind as Scarlett’s younger sister earned her film immortality. Her star turns in The Seven Year Itch, as well as dozens of film noir classics, light comedies and thoughtful westerns made her a reliable actress whose personal life often garnered more press thanks to her numerous marriages and love affairs to the most powerful men of the era. Her trademark bangs, minute figure and broad appeal made her off screen life good copy for the era’s dream factories.

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