Many Columbo fans from many far-flung locations over many years have yearned for more information on the whereabouts of the Columbo portrait from Murder, A Self Portrait. And now you can get your trotters on a beautiful print of it yourself!
The portrait achieved immortality in the trippy, art-infused 1989 episode, in which artist-cum-polygamist-cum-MURDERER Max Barsini creates a magnificent artwork of the good Lieutenant as the two mentally size each other up. And while the episode itself splits opinion (for many it’s FAR too weird), one thing almost every fan agrees on is that the portrait itself is ruddy delightful.
So what do we know about the painting itself? Well, it was created by Jaroslav Gebr, a Czech artist of note who also served as Universal’s Head of Scenic Arts for many years. His works graced many legendary film and TV projects, including The Sound of Music, Scarface, Batman, Star Trek and 24. But, of course, it’s his work on Columbo that is most relevant to us.
Gebr’s first Columbo artwork featured in 1975’s Forgotten Lady, where he created a portrait of Janet Leigh in the guise of Grace Wheeler Willis that was visible in Grace’s home. He also created a series of nude paintings for Murder, A Self Portrait, featuring Isabel Garcia-Lorca, who starred as Barsini’s live-in lover Julie.
The Columbo portrait was the episode’s piece de resistance, as one might expect, and I’m assured that the original is alive and well and in the custodianship of the Gebr Estate. But in order to give fans a chance to enjoy it themselves, a limited edition, signed, numbered print of the portrait is now available to purchase (squeals with all-too-real excitement!).
Be aware that there are only 20 of these prints available (I told you it was limited edition), and it’s not some cheap flimsy poster, but a high-quality print of a world-class work of art. As a result, this is something for the serious fan and a framed print weighs in at US$500. I’m told by my good friend Thomas Gebr at the Gebr Estate that an unframed version can also be obtained for $300.
Interested? Then take a look a look for yourself right here! And while you’re there you can view the range of original portraits from the same episode that are also available for sale.
I’ve already put in my order for one of these, and while I accept it’s a reasonable outlay, and really one for the serious fan only, you’ve got to admit one of these would look terrific on your walls, wouldn’t it?
If you have any queries about the Columbo collection, get in touch with Thomas Gebr here. And if you do decide to take the plunge, please let me know! It’d be great to share notes with fellow buyers. Indeed, if you have any Columbo artwork at your home (there are several ultra-cool 70s movies posters in circulation from when a limited number of episodes were screened in cinemas in Europe), sing out in the comments below.