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Inside The Art Collection Of Earl And Camilla McGrath, L.A.'s Ultimate 1970s Cool Couple

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Los Angeles has long held the reputation as an Eden for breezy artists and socialites, but few compare to Earl and Camilla McGrath.

Earl, who passed away in early 2016, is remembered as one-half of the quintessentially L.A.-cool couple that quietly dominated the city's social scene in the 1970s. Earl, the former head of Rolling Stone Records, and Camilla, an Italian countess and photographer, surrounded themselves with the upper echelon of the cultural and intellectual zeitgeist, often holding salons and art showcases in their West Hollywood home-cum-gallery. The frequenters included close friends like John Didion, Cy Twombly, Anjelica Huston, Gore Vidal, Larry Rivers, and Harrison Ford, among countless others. These guests, aside from being rich and famous, had another commonality: they adored Earl.

"He was the last of a breed, one of the last great gentlemen and bohemians,” according to Harrison Ford, who described him as such in a January 2016 Vanity Fair story about Earl McGrath. Here's another snippet from that same story:

“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. “If a situation needed to have the starch taken out of it, Earl did it. He could be wicked. He was socially fearless. He was never impressed with anyone—and he swam in rather heady circles. There was no fandom to him at all. He had no bones for that. He really didn’t care what anybody did or how much money they had. He was always there, always ready to join the fun—and to be the fun.”
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In what can be considered a lingering effect of running with an influential crowd, Earl and Camilla became known for their impeccable taste in art, collecting works from their dear friends (what a perk!) throughout the course of their 44-year marriage. The collection, comprised of over 135 pieces of post-war and contemporary art, will be auctioned away by Christie’s auction house from March 1 to March 3. But first the pieces will be making their way to L.A. for one last time. The exhibition’s highlights will be on view at the De Re Gallery, running from Thursday through February 11.

De Re Gallery is located at 8373 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, (310) 205-7959. The exhibit will be open from February 9 to 11 every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.