Osian’s acquires Leonard Schrader collection

Mumbai: Osian’s announces the acquisition of the Leonard Schrader Collection, the world’s largest private collection of early Hollywood Lobby Cards.

For the Osian’s Collection, the acquisition of this archive is another step towards becoming the world’s largest repositories of film memorabilia material. While it already possesses the world’s largest collection of Indian cinema publicity material, with the Leonard Schrader Collection coming in, the Osian’s archive further expands its history of Hollywood cinema. This collection will be housed at the Osianama, Osian’s flagship arts and culture complex due to open in Mumbai in 2009.

The Leonard Schrader collection consists of 8462 vintage lobby cards of early cinema, many of the films now lost irretrievably, and 5000 related items that were put together and preserved by the late screenwriter/filmmaker Leonard Schrader over 27 years.

Leonard Schrader was the well-known writer of films such as The Yakuza,  Mishima and The Kiss of the Spiderwoman (the last two being shown at this year’s Osian’s-Cinefan) and was the brother of Paul Schrader. He also earned an Academy Award Nomination for his screenplay for Kiss of the Spider Woman. Having studied writing with the likes of Nelson Algren, Richard Yates, Kurt Vonnegut and Jorge Luis Borges, he had an abiding interest in Japanese history and culture.

Few knew about the extent of the collection although his propensity to acquire film memorabilia was a well-known fact. The collection was discovered in its full glory only after his death in 2006. The historian of early cinema, Anthony Slide has described it as the largest collection of its kind built by a private individual.

Osian’s Connoisseurs of Art founder chairman Neville Tuli says, "This is another important step in making India the knowledge centre for the arts and cinema. Without acquiring such a collection, no great visual and textual library can be built for world-class research, attracting the finest scholars and creative minds to India."

David Weisman who has known and worked with Leonard Schrader for 28 years added, "Even though a number of museums had approached us, we decided to give this collection to Tuli as he was the only one with the vision who understood its importance and wanted to keep the entire collection together".

Almost every important personality of early Euro-American cinema is represented here making the Leonard Collection an invaluable trove of knowledge about the history of film for our times. The collection’s real pleasure lies in re-discovering the frontiers of cinema’s childhood established by figures that were once well known but have now been forgotten due to selective historical memory.