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This unique mixed media collage was a gift of love from the artist Niki de Saint Phalle to Camilla McGrath (nee Countess Camilla Pecci-Blunt), wife of art dealer, entertainment executive and impresario Earl McGrath. The work is inscribed 'Cara Camilla je t'embrasse très très fort. greetings to Earl. love Niki'. It is framed, and bears the original envelope Niki used to mail the sheet to the McGraths. This work was acquired from the Estate of Earl and Camilla McGrath. (Camilla died in 2007. and Earl died in 2016 at the age of 84.) In remembering Earl McGrath for Vanity Fair magazine, Warhol's editor and confidant Bob Colacello interviewed the many celebrities and artists who adored McGrath: "He was the last of a breed, one of the last great gentlemen and bohemians,” says Harrison Ford.."; He was the funniest man I have ever known,” declares Jerry Hall, whose friendship with McGrath went back to 1975, when she was the girlfriend of Bryan Ferry and he was vice president of Atlantic Records. “He also had a huge heart and was a magnet for us all in New York and Los Angeles.”; “Earl was so brilliantly irreverent,” says Anjelica Huston, who credits McGrath with introducing her to her late husband, the sculptor Robert Graham, who showed at his Los Angeles gallery; “He wasn’t always the jokester,” notes Brice Marden, who frequently dined tête-à-tête with McGrath. “He also had a keen eye and a kind of natural wisdom, albeit with a slightly warped attitude towards things. I just found him a really good person to hang out with. Whenever I had some deep question, I always wanted to consult Earl. It was reassuring to hear what he had to say.”...So who was this Earl McGrath? Unknown to the general public (and liking it that way), he was very well known to the very well known, the ultimate insider equally at home in the upper echelons of music, art, letters, and entertainment. Among the regulars who flocked to the salon-like lunches and dinners he and his wife, Countess Camilla Pecci-Blunt, a descendant of Pope Leo XIII, gave at their apartment across from Carnegie Hall and their house in West Hollywood were Andy Warhol; Mick Jagger; Gore Vidal; Audrey Hepburn; Anita Loos; Cy Twombly; Larry Rivers; Francesco and Alba Clemente; Prince Rupert Loewenstein; Connie Wald; Wendy Stark; Michelle Phillips; Julian Sands; Annie Leibovitz; Jann and Jane Wenner; Sonny and Gita Mehta; Terry Southern; Fernanda Eberstadt; Wes Anderson; Prince Michael of Greece and his wife, Marina Karella (who showed at McGrath’s gallery); Christopher Isherwood; Isabella Rossellini; Bernardo Bertolucci; and Dennis Hopper..." (Below is a link to the VF article)
This is a one of a kind piece of art history: (Niki de Saint Phalle, a former fashion model who appeared on the cover of French Vogue) was married to Tinguely, friends with the Agnelli's, and had an incredible knack for cultivating members of high society); Camilla McGrath came from European royalty.
Framed, with original envelope affiixed to back and ready to hang. A one-of-a-kind work - and a special opportunity. The work bears the original natural folds as Niki folded it and sent it in the envelope (shown verso) to the McGraths.
11 1/2 x 16 1/2 in. (sheet)
12 x 17 in. (frame)
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Signature: Signed "Love Niki", dated June 20, 1989, with a dateline Roma in watercolor on the recto (front)
Estate of Camilla and Earl McGrath
An enfant terrible ever trying to escape the bourgeois existence into which she was born, Niki de Saint-Phalle taught herself painting and rose to artistic prominence through her colorful monumental outdoor sculptures of extravagantly voluptuous female figures. Early in her career, she became known for the abstract paintings she made by placing paint-filled bags above canvases and shooting them—a form of protest against patriarchy and rigidity. Through her “nanas”, a series of life-size papier maché dolls of the proverbial “everywoman”—including brides and mothers giving birth—de Saint-Phalle contemplated women’s societal roles. Later, inspired by Antoni Gaudí´s Parc Güell in Barcelona, she set out to create something equally impressive but made by a woman; the result was Il Giardino dei Tarocchi (The Tarot Garden), a garden filled with colorful sculptures based on Tarot card symbols, which she created over 20 years on land she acquired in Tuscany.
French, 1930-2002, Paris, France, based in San Diego, CA, United States