An Earl and a Countess

Larry Rivers, “Formal Marriage Portrait Of Earl And Camilla McGrath.”

I’ve been reading a ton about Earl McGrath, the ultimate mid-20th-century arts-world mover and shaker– the only thorn who ever truly pierced Eve Babitz‘s side. Besties with Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol, the godfather of Harrison Ford’s kids, pals with Jasper Johns and Aretha Franklin and Babs and you name it, Jesus (probably Jesus too), he presided over everyone’s parlor, curating the best be-ins and the slyest jokes. He’s been called the Jay Gatsby of those sets but I think he was a lot craftier and more joyous than anything Fitzgerald could conceive. For one thing unlike a lot of 60s glitterati McGrath didn’t end up in a seedy bathroom with a needle in his arm but in a swank Carnegie Hill apartment with an Italian countess for a wife. The secret seems to be he actually married a woman he liked, though I doubt they fucked. To me, this painting of Earl and wife Camilla– united in their skepticism, looking alike if not in love, he looming on a higher plane entirely–says everything I think about marriage, especially the ones that endure ones between men and women. I don’t mean to be rude but in my intuition practice, I use entirely separate tarot cards to indicate marriage and love. As I slide into my 50s, I see the point of both.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy