Geneva Anderson digs into art

Kim Novak, Glamour Girl of the Silver Screen–who knew she could Paint? “Life is but a Dream,” part of a larger exhibition at San Francisco’s Old Mint, June 16-24, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Film actress, Kim Novak, with her all-American blonde looks and bewitching demeanor, said goodbye to Hollywood in the 1960’s at the height of her fame.  She had come from a working class Czech neighborhood community in Chicago and risen through the ranks of Hollywood to wow audiences worldwide with her unforgettable performances in such films as Vertigo (1958), Picnic (1955), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) and Bell Book and Candle (1958).  Her irresistibly carnal Judy, pretending to be Madeleine, in Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller, Vertigo (1958), made Vertigo one of the greatest films of all times and forever linked her to the San Francisco Bay Area.   It is only fitting that San Francisco will be graced with Novak’s presence next week for two very special events organized by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society (SFMHS).

Novak, now 79, is a painter and she’s having her first public art exhibition at the Old Mint, June 16–24, 2012.  Novak’s collection of paintings, Life Is But a Dream, will be a key exhibit in a larger exhibition, The Stuff that Dreams are Made of: San Francisco and the Movies, which highlights the movies and the filmmakers that have made San Francisco one of the world’s unique film capitals at the Old Mint, June 16-24, 2012.

Novak will also be honored with the San Francisco Cinematic Icon Award next Thursday, June 14 at the Old Mint at Standing Ovations, a gala event to benefit the Society.  She will be interviewed onstage by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz.

“San Francisco has always been my favorite city of all time,” says Kim Novak. “I was privileged to feel a part of this magical place in two films — Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.  What an honor it will be to receive this special award from San Francisco. It will be like coming home again!”

Her series of paintings, Life Is But a Dream, bathed in rich colors and light, can be best described as Novak’s very personal take on her surroundings—a rustic Oregon ranch bustling with animals where lives with her husband, Dr. Robert Malloy, an equine veterinarian.

“My style of painting is the result of striving for the marriage of impressionism and expressionism,” says Novak. “I have always been influenced by life as it exists around me—touched by my past, the world of make believe—and concerned with what affects life today and how it might infect life tomorrow.  Through the use of symbolism I have found a way to vent life’s frustrations and experience the freedom of self-expression. This is the ultimate reward that comes to the visual artist.”

In regard to the techniques she employs, Novak says, “I love the serendipitous effects one gets by combining water colors under paintings with pastels.  However, I enjoy using all mediums.”

It was always Novak’s dream to become an artist. She received a scholarship to the prestigious Chicago Art Institute as a teen.  But just before she was to follow through with her studies at the Institute, fate intervened and she was discovered by a talent agent from Columbia Pictures in Hollywood.

Having lived with mental illness in her family, as well as in herself, she found the importance of using art as a means of overcoming depression …she would paint late into the night even before she was diagnosed as Bipolar and able to receive treatment and medication.

Novak has never stopped painting and she now lives in Oregon, where she devotes most of her time to art.  She is hoping, through this exhibit in San Francisco, to find a way to connect with the best people in the art world and to find a way to raise funds through the sale of her art to fund an arts program for those struggling with mental health issues … far this is just her dream for 2013, but, “this is the stuff dreams are made of.”

Details:  Life Is But a Dream runs June 16-24, 2012, from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Old Mint at Fifth and Mission Streets.  Admission is $5 for SFMHS members and $10 for the general public. Life Is But a Dream is an exhibition within the larger exhibition, The Stuff that Dreams are Made of: San Francisco and the Movies, June 16-24, 2012, from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Old Mint.

The Standing Ovations benefit gala is Thursday, June 14, 2012, at 5 p.m., with guest of honor, Kim Novak, receiving the San Francisco Cinematic Icon Award.  Individual tickets start at $300.  For information about the gala, contact Darlene Plumtree at (415) 710-7332 or

Kim Novak and William Holden’s Dance Scene to “Moonglow” from Picnic (1955)

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)— Scottie (James Stewart) tries to find out why Madeleine (Kim Novak) threw herself into the San Franicisco Bay.

Kim Novak’s appearance “What’s My Line” on February 5, 1956

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Art, Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment