Where lies the heart?

Well, actually the correct title is Here lies the heart but we’ll get to that… Without putting in an incredible amount of work i’ve been able to find more than a couple of drafts for dust jacket designs that ended up not being used. So i think it’s a pretty safe bet that there are others as well, finding these might be tricky though. But there is one more that i know about, well… at least i know that it exists but i have no idea what it looks like. In one of the letters in Mary Lois Timbes Adheads book Meet me at the butterfly tree Robert E. Bell mentions that he has five original drawings that Warhol did for the cover. So that would mean there are an additional four designs for that cover, god only knows where they ended up…

Anyways, that’s not what this was supposed to be about. This is supposed to be about a Warhol cover design that was completed but ended up not being used at all. At least i think it should be considered finished, it sure looks that way to me. The title of the book is Here lies the heart and was written by Mercedes De Acosta and published in 1960. I first came across this cover a while ago and at first i found it odd that i could not find the actual book with this cover anywhere, and there was also no mention of this among the articles and things that feature other dust jackets designs by Warhol. But as always Guy Minnebach set the record straight and informed me that the design was never used and that looking for it would of course be a complete waste of time. Anyways, as said the design looks finished to me considering that it looks pretty “clean” and has the title and authors name all ready to go… As with a lot of his other designs it shows Warhol’s fascination with hands and personally i quite like this cover. It looks a lot better than the boring “photo cover” that was eventually used on the actual book. There is also a somewhat different design in the catalogue for the exhibition Reading Andy Warhol that i’ve only been able to find a pretty bad image of online. Apart from some discepancies in the typography the major difference between the two i would say is of course the white heart in between the fingers and has the title in it. I think the catalogue has the date for this drawing down as circa 1959 and considering the book was published in 1960 it’s hard to argue with that.

Here-lies-the-heart-warhol

So, how did this cover come to be, and why was it not used? Well, sadly i have no good answer or information really… And the exhibition catalogue does not shed any light on this either, so my guess would be as good any anybody elses. Anyways, as always i at first knew nothing about the author. If you look at all the authors for which Warhol designed the jacket for one of their books i only recognized Leslie Charteris, and that is of course only because of The Saint. So… who was Mercedes De Acosta and how did she come to befriend Andy Warhol? Well, apparently she was and maybe still is quite well known in literary and film circles. She wrote a couple of plays, novels and some poetry but from what i’ve read it seems these might have brought her a little fame but certainly not the accompanying fortune. By most accounts she was professionally unsuccessful and instead she is best known for her many lesbian affairs or relationships with high profile celebrities at the time, the most famous of those being Greta Garbo. And she was also friends with Andy Warhol. Exactly how good friends they were seems to be up for debate with some saying not at all and others, like author Hugo Vickers who writes in his book Loving Garbo that they were apparently close enough to spend thanksgiving together. Vickers also writes that the three of them once met at a picnic where Warhol gave a drawing of a butterfly to Garbo which she eventually crumbled. After saving the drawing Warhol then allegedly had his mother write Crumpled butterfly by Greta Garbo on it, of course i have no idea if this story is true or not and i’ve looked for the drawing online without any luck. But it’s a nice story. Whatever the case i think it’s safe to say that they knew each other in one way or another, not only because Warhol did this design for her book but he also designed the invitations for the party of whatever to celebrate the release of the book. I have no idea how many of these invitations that might have survived but one was up for auction at Christie’s in 2001 and i was shocked to see that it sold for a very obtainable $800 or so. Too bad i wasn’t into this thing back then, had i been i might have tried and bid on it… And maybe the butterfly on the invitation is some “inside joke” in reference to what happened at the picnic, if it happened at all… And what about the book? Well, to my understanding De Acosta got seriously ill sometime in 1960 and in order to be able to pay for medical expenses she decided to write her memoirs which was well-received but it did spark a bit of controversy since she described or at least implied that several high profile people were homosexual and that she had been romantically involved with them. Apparently Garbo was the most pissed off…

Here-lies-the-heart-invitation

Time to wrap things up. I don’t know how things like this work and who has the most say when it comes to what cover design that will be used but if i have to make a guess i would say it’s mainly the publishers decision? Whatever the case i would assume Warhol wasn’t that upset since he did the invitations once the book was finished, or maybe they were already made up before the book was published… For some reason i’m intrigued by stories like this, too bad it’s basically impossible to find any real answers though. It’s a great looking drawing and a shame that it wasn’t used.

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