Anton Grot

Anton Grot (18 January 1884 21 March 1974) was a Polish art director long active in Hollywood. He was known for his prolific output with Warner Brothers, contributing, in such films as Little Caesar (1931), and Gold Diggers of 1933 to the distinctive Warners look and style. According to a TCM profile, he showed a "flair for harsh realism, Expressionistic horror and ornate romantic moods alike".[1]

Anton Grot
with design for The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Antoni Franciszek Groszewski

(1884-01-18)18 January 1884
Kelbasin, Poland
Died21 March 1974(1974-03-21) (aged 90)
Stanton, California, United States
OccupationArt director
Years active1916-1950

He was born Antoni Franciszek Groszewski in Kiełbasin, Poland and died in Stanton, California. He studied at the Krakow art academy and at technical school in Königsberg, Germany, majoring in interior decoration, illustration, and design. He changed his name and emigrated to the U.S. in 1909.[2]

The Lubin Company hired him to paint and design sets in 1913, in Philadelphia;[3] and he also worked on films for Vitagraph and Pathé. At the Pathé company, he developed his innovative techniques, along with William Cameron Menzies, in the way of using continuity sketches. His method of presenting a series of sketches of all the film’s sets would later become standard practice among Art Directors, particularly with Menzies (his assistant in 1917, on The Naulahka). The cinematographer Arthur Miller remembered Anton Grot:

"a gifted and talented artist who made beautiful charcoal drawings...of the set before it was completed. All his compositions showed a full shot of each set, with all the delicate tones and shadings that suggested ideas for lighting and, in general, were of great help to me as a cameraman."[4]

Grot arrived in Hollywood to assist Wilfred Buckland with the sets for the Douglas Fairbanks Robin Hood (1922); and stayed on, to work with Cecil B. DeMille and William K. Howard.[3] He was eventually signed by Warner Bros., as “art director, artist, and designer", and designed 80 films before his retirement in 1948. Grot collaborated notably with fellow émigré, director Michael Curtiz, on 15 films. Beginning with the biblical epic Noah’s Ark (1928), these included Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1938), The Sea Hawk (1940), and Mildred Pierce (1945). Grot is credited with contributing significantly to Curtiz’ personal style.[4]


Grot was nominated for five Academy Awards for Best Art Direction:[5]

He received a special Oscar in 1941 for inventing a water ripple and wave-illusion machine, first used in The Sea Hawk (1940).[2]


See also


  1. "Overview for Anton Grot". Turner Classic Movies.
  2. "Anton Grot movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  3. "Finding Aid for the Anton Grot Papers, 1920-1950".
  4. incEngine. "Art Directors Guild - Hall of Fame".
  5. "Anton Grot". Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  6. "NY Times: The Sea Hawk". NY Times. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  7. "NY Times: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex". NY Times. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  8. "NY Times: The Life of Emile Zola". NY Times. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  9. "NY Times: Anthony Adverse". NY Times. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  10. "NY Times: Svengali". NY Times. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
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