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Alfred Herman, an Artist and Craftsman

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Alfred Herman, who built the ½-inch scale model of the Union Pacific Big Boy 4002 locomotive, was for many years a member of the Motion Picture Art Directors Guild. He had a very long and productive career in Hollywood and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction in the movie “Love Affair” (1939).

Born in New York on September 8, 1889, he attended public school and later went to the Pratt Institute art school in Brooklyn. His first commercial experience after graduation was in the newspaper business, after which he was employed from 1910 to 1925 by the Vitagraph Company as a scenic artist and head of the art department. From 1925 to 1931 he was a unit art director for Paramount Pictures and the next year served as sketch artist at the Pathe Studio.

From 1932 until his retirement in 1955, Herman was an art director at RKO. He worked on many motion pictures during this period, including “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939) and “Love Affair” (1939) starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunn, for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

Herman used his home workshop to produce many of the objects d’art that decorated his home: paintings, miniatures, and beautifully finished period furniture. For three years he worked painstakingly on the Union Pacific Big Boy 4002 model, which duplicated every detail of the giant locomotive.


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