By Brian Mallman
One of the most amazing things about our community is its history as a destination for working artists. In 2006 I was researching the names of artists who have had studios in the area and I stumbled on an article about a man named Antonio Corsi. Mr. Corsi wasn’t an artist, but he may have been the most famous male artists’ model of all time. Corsi posed for many of the most famous artists of his day and his image can be seen in paintings and sculptures around the world.
In the early 1920′s he lived in Highland Park/Garvanza, while he modeled at the USC College of Fine Arts. At that time the school was located in the Judson Studios building on Avenue 66. He lived in the area until his death in 1925.
While he lived here, he was also known for his wild parties by the Arroyo, his extensive collection of costumes and his Spaghetti dinners that often included a late-night costume parade through the streets. Corsi is one of the characters who along with Charles Lummis, William Lees Judson, Clyde Browne and many others, help define our neighborhood as Los Angeles’ first art community.
Around 2007, I was contacted by a documentary filmmaker from New York named Jake Gorst. He had been given a large scrapbook full of pictures and letters that had belonged to Mr. Corsi and was considering doing a film about him. After many years and a lot of research, Jake is ready to make his film. The Arroyo Seco Journal is pleased to publicize his efforts to bring this project to fruition.