Now a performing arts center, Davis Cone's painting of the Imperial Theatre. Augusta, GA


Last week we had the company of Los Angeles artist Davis Cone, known for his hyper-realistic paintings of theatres. He toured our museum and did some research in the THS archive — looking at our collection of  Jay Emanuel Publication’s Theatre Catalogues to assess their worth as purchases via the internet.

 While in the area he  photographed the York Theatre (our home), the Glen in Glen Ellyn and the DesPlaines in DesPlaines.

Cones’ work is so detailed that it is hard to tell it from an actual photo.  He is a native of Augusta, Georgia, home to the Imperial Theatre.  “At the Imperial, young Cone and his buddies were witness to countless adventures of Tarzan in Africa, Zorro in Mexico, and Flash Gordon out in the galaxies,” write authors Michael D. Kinerk and Dennis W. Wilhelm (both are THS members) in their 2001 book “Popcorn Palaces: The Art Deco Movie Theatre Paintings of Davis Cone.” “In the front row, life became magnified hundreds of times; superheroes 30 feet tall blazed across a 70-foot screen. Out of both his gratitude and familiarity, Cone immortalized the Imperial in his second movie theatre painting in 1977.” (RS)

Now a performing arts center, Davis Cone's painting of the Imperial Theatre. Augusta, GA


  1. Howard B Haas

    Love his painting of Philadelphia’s Boyd (Sam Eric) Theatre in the book. We show it to people who hardly believe it isn’t a photo.

  2. One of my life’s ambitions is to own an actual Davis Cone piece. I have a signed, framed poster of the Orleans theater but it doesn’t count. Some day i shall have the Northampton Roxy….

  3. Britt Barkley

    My dad was the projectionist at the Imperial for most of my childhood. He was there until it closed. I have the print in my “home theatre” here in Texas. Fantastic painting and takes me back to my youth whenever I look at it.

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