Hollywood Hellfire Club’s John Decker Painted Harpo Marx As “Blue Boy”.
Those of you who have followed the articles on the fun loving, hard drinking men of yesteryear known as the “Hollywood Hellfire Club”, or the “Bundy Drive Boys”, will know all about that mischievous artist John Decker. He was a charter member, hanging with Errol Flynn, Gene Fowler, Douglas Fairbanks, W.C. Fields, John Carradine, Sadakichi Hartmann and the rest of the crew. We have posted several articles on the subject, including recommending the great book “Hollywood’s Hellfire Club” by Greg Mank, Bill Nelson, and Charles Heard. We also posted an article on how we crashed the last party held at Deckers hide-out before the house was torn down.
The good news for Decker collectors is that William Marx is selling his Decker painting of Harpo as “Blue Boy” at Bonhams this coming November 25th. (The same auction that has the Clara Bow nude, and much more.) Here’s the blurb from Bonhams Catalog:
Likely painted in the 1930s, this portrait was included in an exhibition of Decker’s work entitled “Art and the Stars” in 1942. In addition to creating set pieces for films and painting more traditional portraits, he was well known for these renderings of celebrities as historical figures or the subjects of famous works of art, also painting W.C. Fields as Queen Victoria (a painting which hung prominently at Chasen’s for many years), Greta Garbo as Mona Lisa,and Mickey Rooney in the style of Anthony Van Dyke.
This painting hung in Harpo Marx’s home for many years and his son Bill Marx featured it on the cover of his memoir, Son of Harpo Speaks! (Milwaukee: Applause!, 2010.)
Overall: 38 3/4 x 55 in.; Within frame: 31 1/2 x 47 1/2 in. The estimate is $5-7,000. Another spectacular painting of one of the great comedians of all time, painted by one of Hollywood’s most controversial artists.
Click here to visit Bonhams website
Click here to read about crashing the last party at Decker’s hide-out.
Click here to see photos of John Decker’s cool house.
Click here to visit Greg Mank’s website.
Click here to buy the book from Bill Nelson’s Oddball Books.