Grapefruit Moon Gallery is proud to offer one of 3 original commissioned large circular oil paintings that adorned the restaurant walls of LaRue’s, a legendary Hollywood, Sunset Blvd. haunt that was owned by gangster character actor Jack LaRue. Henry Clive was a frequent patron and close friend of LaRue, these paintings were purchased directly from the restaurant about 45 years ago by the artist’s son Henry Clive O’Hara.
In addition to being a prolific cover illustrator for Randolph Hearst’s American Weekly, Clive painted several large risque and attention garnering commissioned mural works for Hollywood landmarks like The Jade and The Masquers Club as well as LaRue’s.
This large and majestic work is titled Spirit of Capri and is loosely based on a 1937 American Weekly cover, The Maid of the Mist. The work is framed in its original round art deco wood frame which has been enamel painted in a complimenting pearl color. I am happy to offer this unusual opportunity to own a piece of Hollywood from the Golden Era and a rare original work by this gifted and elusive artist with remarkable provenance.
In recent months, I have been fortunate enough to have the chance to become on all accounts good friends with the artist’s son, who has displayed these paintings in his Hawaii resort for the past decades. Clive, his father, was a legendary womanizer and bon vivant. So much of a free spirit, in fact, Clive married a whopping 6 times, and fathered several children out of wedlock.
O’Hara was raised as a ward of California when his mother couldn’t make ends meet. Seeing an ad stating that several Henry Clive paintings were to be sold at Larue’s, the nervous son went and met Jack LaRue and told him he would like to meet his father, the artist, and purchase these works. Several days later, the 21-year-old O’Hara returned to the restaurant for the long awaited meeting.
LaRue walked the nervous young man, who barely knew his mother, let alone his father, to Clive’s artist studio in an adjoining building. During their visit, Clive sat awkwardly with a live parakeet perched on his shoulder and remarked to his son, “You walk like me.” Though the two never met again, Henry Jr. inherited his father’s love of all the finer things in life: particularly art and women. He’s a joy to know and I am honored to offer these works on his behalf.