Early Abstractions has gone to the Getty.

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I had Harry Smith’s own 16mm print of Early Abstractions for about 20 years, since he got it out from under the bed at his little apartment on the Naropa Institute grounds. I just passed it off to Rani Singh of the Getty Museum and Harry Smith Archive. Sad to see it go, as it’s a relic from one of the people who has meant the most to me. It’s  a treasure, though, and it deserves a better archival situation than I can provide. The Getty is comparing all the available prints to the 60-year-old original hand-painted 35mm film (and the later parts) and making a “definitive” new restored version. Rani took great care of Harry during his last years, and I know the movie is safe under her guard. In any case, the color and condition are far better than the print used for the Getty’s current working DVD version, which I recently saw for the first time. Hopefully, my print (Harry’s print) will make the restored version better than it would have been. That’s better than having it in my closet for an occasional screening, and waiting for vinegar syndrome to bloom. I miss you, Harry. Thanks for trusting me with your movie for a while.

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