“Gibbons was responsible for the physical look of most of the 20th century through his designs for MGM, which were wildly influential both at the time and now, when we look back at his era.”
— Historian Steven Bingen, author of MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot, in an interview with Stuart Galbraith IV
Cedric Gibbons, a graduate of New York’s Art Student League, began his long association with the movies at Edison Studios in 1915. In 1918, he served as art director at Goldwyn Studios. When Goldwyn became incorporated with Metro Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures in 1924, forming MGM, the young designer signed on as the new studio’s art director, a position he would hold for the next 32 years. More than 1,500 films bear his name as art director while a number of designers on his staff went uncredited. Nevertheless, the look of MGM films—and much of the studio proper—are reflections of Gibbons’s taste, creativity and discipline.
Here’s a brief look at his legacy.