Portion is incredibly proud to be introducing a very special piece from The Tolkien Art of the Brothers Hildebrandt to the NFT community. The piece, The Ring of Galadriel, was originally created in 1975 by master fantasy painters Greg and Tim Hildebrandt.
First appearing in Ballantine Books' 1976 Tolkien Calendar as the month of May, the design of this painting was based on classic imagery. The Brothers Hildebrandt derived inspiration from great works such as The Madonna, Botticelli’s Angels, along with Maxfield Parrish’s lighting and statuesque figure style. Researching medieval attire, they chose to use long draped sleeves to add a graceful majesty to our heroine. There is also a nod to the great English Academy artists in the rendering of her hair. Galadriel has an attitude of beauty, power and strength as she is the Elf Queen who possess one of the greatest powers in Middle Earth.
The piece is being offered as a framed acrylic painting on Board (36x36 inches), paired with a NFT (MP4) which proves its authenticity and provenance.
Greg Hildebrant on what NFTs mean for him as an artist:
"There is really a multi-faceted conversation around NFT’s. On the business side of things there is finally a way to track the reselling of the art. After 63 years as a working professional artist I truly appreciate this. It ensures that I and hopefully my heirs will continue to receive the benefits of its increasing value. This has always been a problem in the art world. When young artists are trying to build a life and career, they are forced to sell their work for very little money, sometimes just to eat. Then over time as other people start to recognize them as having artistic merit, suddenly all that past work they sold has a significant monetary value. Until now those same artists were never able to truly enjoy the fruits of their labor. Hopefully, NFT’s are the great equalizer in this regard. As far as the value of the NFT itself, well, everything is given value based on conversation and agreement between people. What makes art valuable? What makes gold valuable? It’s a shiny mineral that people have a visual attraction to. Through agreed upon conversation it is desirable and has value. The purer it is the scarcer it is, the scarcer it is the more desirable it is and with that, the more value it has. While I may not understand all of the technology that goes into making an NFT, I do understand that this is another agreed upon conversation of value."
The Ring of Galadriel will drop on Portion on Thursday, April 22 at 7PM EST. You can make an offer anytime leading up to the drop here.
A look into the lives of the Brothers Hildebrandt...
Born on January 23, 1939, identical twins Greg and Tim Hildebrandt were avid artists and creative thinkers from an early age. At the age of two, George, their father, taught the boys to use crayons. Before long, they had taken the crayons away from him and were coloring on their own. By the age of eight, they were already emulating the artwork in these comics, getting their first and often frustrating lessons in anatomy and perspective.
Greg and Tim were captivated by all forms of fantasy art, whether in literature, puppetry, or in the great comic books and strips of the era. However, the early animated works of Walt Disney had the most profound impact and creative influence in their early years. Their love of art carried throughout their youth and would be the driving force of their lives.
Perhaps shockingly, Greg and Tim are primarily self-taught. Their only formal training came at 18 when they attended a six-month program at the Meinzinger Art School in Detroit. Upon completing the program, Greg and Tim began to work for the Jam Handy Organization, an Industrial Film Production Corporation, where they animated training films for the auto industry, the military, and major US corporations. The brothers got their first taste of notoriety and recognition when Jim Handy won the coveted Golden Eagle award for their documentary film Technique for Life.
In 1963 they moved east to New York City and began work for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen creating art for his weekly TV show, Life is Worth Living, and producing films on world hunger. By 1969 the brothers decided to pursue a path other than filmmaking and focused their creative energy on commercial illustration. They began by illustrating children's books and advertising campaigns for several years.
The Tolkien Years: Lord of the Rings
Finally, in 1975, fate would intervene. It came in the form of an open call from Ballantine Books looking for artists to illustrate their 1976 J.R.R Tolkien, Lord of the Rings calendar. Over the next three years, they poured their hearts into the world of Wizards and Hobbits, creating 43 original paintings for the 1976, 1977, and 1978 Lord of the Rings calendars. When they finally emerged, they had created works of art that would change their lives and push the landscape of fantasy art. The trilogy of calendars was a massive commercial success, garnering the brothers' international fame and attention. The world officially began to know and recognize, The Brothers Hildebrandt.
Riding the wave of their recent success, Greg and Tim dove headfirst into the process of writing and illustrating Urshurak (1979), which would later become a New York Times Best Seller.
During this time in 1977, a young filmmaker by the name of George Lucas was in need of a striking movie poster to help sell his latest film. He had taken notice of the first two Lord of the Rings calendars. His ad agency sought the brothers out to create a painting that would help sell it. Through the agency, Lucas Film hired the Brothers to create what has since become one of the most recognizable movie posters in cinematic history. The movie, of course, was Star Wars.
With the raging success of The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and their fantasy
novel URSHURAK, the Brothers' fame soared. This exposure afforded Greg and Tim many opportunities to work on world-class projects, such as Clash of the Titans, Heavy Metal Magazine, and Atlantis. As the new decade emerged, the Brothers began discussing their future as artists and in 1981 decided to separate and pursue individual careers. Following in the tradition of many great illustrators, Greg focused on illustrated classics. Greg created 15 heirloom classics and fairy tale collections for Simon and Schuster and Unicorn. His classics series includes notable titles such as The Wizard of Oz, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, Robin Hood, Dracula, and Phantom of the Opera. The New York Times has said,
"Fortunate the child or adult who receives a gift of classics richly illustrated by Greg Hildebrandt."
After 12 long but productive years, Greg and Tim reunited once again. Their first assignment back together was to create the 1994 Fleer Marvel Masterpieces Trading Card Set. A whopping 158 card set featuring all-new illustrations of the Marvel Comics characters. The Alexander Gallery in New York City exhibited these paintings, and collectors have purchased most. In 2015, Greg began creating comic covers for Marvel Comics. With a bit of irony, starting with three new Star Wars compendium covers and then moving on to other high-profile titles.
In his individual creative pursuits, Greg realized a lifelong artistic dream in 1999 by creating the American Beauties retro-style pinup series. Greg draws on childhood memories and inspiration of the master pinup artists of the past while adding his own unique Hildebrandt style and flare. When discussing the series, Greg recalls,
"I sat at my drawing board and began to sketch. I had no idea what I wanted to do. No clue what direction I wanted these paintings to go in. I did know that I did not want my paintings to look like the great masters of pinup art from the '40s and '50s. I wanted to set them in that timeframe, but they had to be mine. I didn't want anyone thinking that I was copying these great artists of the past."
Within weeks of finishing 'Emerald Evening,' his first painting in the American Beauties series, Greg landed a one-person show at the Meisel Gallery in Soho, New York.
Greg and Tim would continue a long and successful career garnering attention and awards, including the Chesley award, the Inkpot award and the Gold Medal from The Society of Illustrators, independently and as the Brothers Hildebrandt until Tim's passing in 2006 from complications due to diabetes. The Brothers Hildebrandt's art is a pathway leading to the written word and a journey into the imagination. Their legacy will continue to ignite children and adults' desire to embrace literature and art in all its glory.
In 2003 Greg became the exclusive artist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a progressive rock band known for their large-scale stage shows and themes of hope. Bonding with the bandleader and lead songwriter, Paul O'Neill, Greg found himself in a creative process based on mutual admiration and respect. Not since working with his brother Tim has Greg worked so closely and passionately with another person for a shared vision and goal.
Now in his 80's Greg continues to create and work every day, feverishly chasing his imagination and exploring the world of art around him. His work continues to be sought after by notable collectors around the world such Robin Williams, Paul O’Neill, George Lucas and many others. Greg continues his hyper-prolific churning of creativity and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. When asked if he will ever retire, he replies,
"I can't retire from being myself."
There is currently a documentary film in production about his life and career, slated to be released in 2022.