Anton Grot (1884 – 1974) Polish Art Director

Little Caesar (1931) Art Direction by Anton Grot
Little Caesar (1931) Art Direction by Anton Grot

Anton Grot was a well-known Polish art director in Hollywood. He was noted for his prolific productivity at Warner Brothers, contributing to Warners’ look and style in films like Little Caesar (1931) and Gold Diggers (1933). He had a “flair for stark realism, Expressionistic horror, and elaborate romantic moods alike,” according to a TCM profile.

Biography

Antoni Franciszek Groszewski was born in Kiebasin, Poland, and passed away in Stanton, California. He majored in interior decoration, illustration, and design at the Krakow art academy and a technical school in Königsberg, Germany. In 1909, he changed his name and moved to the United States.

In 1913, he was engaged by the Lubin Company in Philadelphia to paint and create sets. He also worked on pictures for Vitagraph and Pathé. Along with William Cameron Menzies, he pioneered his revolutionary approach in using continuity sketches at the Pathé corporation. His manner of providing a series of illustrations of all the film’s sets became standard procedure among Art Directors later on, especially with Menzies (his assistant in 1917, on The Naulahka).

Grot arrived in Hollywood to assist Wilfred Buckland with the sets for the Douglas Fairbanks Robin Hood (1922) and stayed on to work with Cecil B. DeMille and William K. Howard. He was eventually signed by Warner Bros. as “art director, artist, and designer” and designed 80 films before his retirement in 1948. Grot collaborated notably with fellow émigré, director Michael Curtiz, on 15 films. Beginning with the biblical epic Noah’s Ark (1928), these included Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), and Mildred Pierce (1945). Grot is credited with contributing significantly to Curtiz’ style

Recognition

Grot received five Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction: Feature Film.

He won a special Academy Award in 1941 for creating a water ripple and wave-illusion machine, which was initially used in the movie The Sea Hawk (1940).

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, August 3). Anton Grot. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:04, November 7, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anton_Grot&oldid=1036885421

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