Artist Offers New Glimpse of Truman Capote at La Côte Basque

Pair of Jamie Wyeth dioramas depict a bygone NYC restaurant and Andy Warhol's one-time HQ.

Truman Capote’s infamous short story La Côte Basque 1965 was first published by Esquire in 1975, as part of a preview of the in-progress Answered Prayers. It tumbled the author into a wide, negative swath and was revisited more recently in Vanity Fair. Now comes another echo in, of all places, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

Per Delaware News Journal reporter Patricia Delarico, a current exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum of Art includes a diorama of La Côte Basque restaurant created by artist Jamie Wyeth in 2013. This is the first time the work is being publicly displayed, along with another debuting diorama of Andy Warhol’s Factory dining room, as part of a major retrospective. From her report:

The dining room of La Côte Basque depicts Capote dining at a corner table with his longtime friend Joanne Carson, the former wife of talk show host Johnny Carson. Capote was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. Joanne and Capote became such good friends, Capote lived in her home off California’s Sunset Boulevard and died there in 1984.

… Across the restaurant’s dining room, sits the very regal ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who is eating oysters, little tiny oysters, while wearing a bright red scarf and what looks to be an ushanka or furry Russian hat.

In The Factory diorama, also done at one-sixth life scale, Warhol can be seen, along with several other folks and a moose’s head. Click over to Delarico’s piece for a glimpse of the Capote-Carson tableau. La Côte Basque closed in 2004.

For those interested in reading more about the Capote-Carson friendship, LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian wrote a wonderful piece last fall.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Revisiting Truman Capote’s Tipsy High Times Cover

[Image of Capote quote: Sari ONeal/]