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Virtual Gallery Opening!

If I were a millionaire I'd open a gallery containing nothing but original paintings (made for posters and VHS boxes) of Klaus Kinski. But I'm not a millionaire... nor even a thousandaire. Luckily, here at Scarecrow I can browse the shelves, for free, with the hope of coming across a box cover graced with Kinski's likeness. While I'm sure our collection is incomplete (many titles that come out on DVD drop the beautiful paintings used to promote the film theatrically in favor of floating heads or gaudy Photoshop jobs that have nothing to do with the movie), at least I can scan these covers and keep them in a virtual gallery for all to see.

Welcome to the Virtual Gallery of Klaus Kinski Paintings! Load times may vary!

Why my fascination with paintings of Kinski? First off, they are very numerous. While we have many boxes featuring Franco Nero, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, and other genre stars, I think Kinski was by far the most represented on VHS covers. His face is amazingly unique and quite expressive. Painters must have delighted in attempting to recreate the jagged angles, protruding veins, and haunting eyes of his unforgettable visage. The paintings range in quality and content, providing a secret history of the career of a talented actor who was relegated to the ghetto of character acting in low-budget, Italian genre works. Which I say not to denigrate the man or his abilities--his presence in anything is always pleasurable--but to lament the fact that he was known more for looking weird and acting crazy than for looking "cool" and acting well.

Luckily for us, the film watching community, Werner Herzog saw behind those fiery eyes a window into the soul of man, primitive, raw and impassioned, but completely honest and direct. And from the collaborations of Herzog and Kinski we received not only their best work as director and actor, but also the best painted representations of Kinski. Observe the first pieces in the gallery:

I cheated for the Fitzcarraldo, this image is from a poster and not from one of our video boxes, but I could not pass up the opportunity to include this in the gallery. Stare into Kinski's eyes. I dare you! You will get lost in his obsession; you will feel how tortured he is. Rational behavior has been replaced by a primal drive. The Nosferatu poster is a more stylized painting, but still manages to capture a sadness lurking beneath his monstrous appearance. Bravo!

While some artists have found only the monster in Kinski's face:

A few others have also seen that there is a complexity there. The troubled, human conflict lurking beneath the terrible veneer:

Though he is perched upon the woman like the monster of Fuseli's Nightmare (also the cover of the VHS box of Gothic), there is clearly a look of doubt or concern cast across his face.

But not every film/painter chose to represent Mr.Kinski as a monster. Sometimes he was proud, brave, or contemplative:

The best of these captured the haunting aspect of his million mile gaze:

In the above painting, I particularly love the slight curl of his lips. It makes it seem as though he is disgusted by something... perhaps only bothered by it, but he continues staring straight at it nonetheless.

Maybe some artists were able to capture the cool, mystery of Kinski after all. Alain Delon he ain't, but tell me you don't want to be the man in these images:

Of course, not every painter could accurately capture Kinski. There are a handful that are definitely representations of him, but fall short of remarkable:

The features seem accurate, but the face seems dead and expressionless. And this one is just plain wrong:

Actually, I'm not 100% sure if that's even supposed to be Kinski's floating head, but mad props to the artist for composition and color. If an actual likeness of Kinski was painted floating over a setting sun as bandits rode toward the foreground, it could have been magical. A for effort.

These I'm not even sure are paintings. One could be be a terrible duplication of an image to the point where it looks like stylized painting:

While the other is an amazing rendering whatever the materials used were:

This concludes the tour of my virtual gallery of paintings of Klaus Kinski. I hope to one day add on an expansion wing, so please feel free to help me curate and point me to any other paintings that may be out there. I hope you enjoyed your visit.

*UPDATE 4PM PST AUGUST 29TH, 2007 Shelving boxes in the World War II section I came across this smug looking portrait: