From 1924 to 1928 Batiste Madalena (1902-1988) was employed by George Eastman in Rochester, New York to paint original posters advertising the movies being shown at the Eastman Theater. Madalena painted an average of eight original posters each week for a total estimated at over 1400. He was paid $4.50 for each painting.
When Eastman sold the theater in 1928, Madalena was fired by the new owners who opted to use the commercial posters provided by film studios. One evening in the fall of 1928, Madalena passed by the theater and saw that many of his original paintings were being thrown in the garbage. He worked through the night and managed to reclaim about 225 of his pieces.
The works were later discovered by collectors and museums and many of the paintings were shown in exhibitions around the US. His work is now in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Smithsonian Institution and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.