Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Maxfield Parrish’s Painted Fart- and the Bloody Mary

The fantastical Gold Age-illustrated world of Maxfield Parrish lives forever at one of New York’s ritziest bars, the King Cole at the St. Regis Hotel. Hanging above the bar where the Bloody Mary (called the “Red Snapper” to sound more classy at the time) was first introduced to New York in 1930s, Parrish’s epic King Cole mural has held court since 1932. The gorgeous mural captures Parrish’s innate ability to create luminescent color, but also holds a less than classy secret.


Parrish was initially approached by hotelier John Jacob Astor (who later perished in the Titanic) in 1906 to create a piece for the bar at his short0lived hotel, The Knickerbocker on 42nd Street. Parrish, an egotist who was also a strictly non-drinking Quaker, wasn’t feeling having one of his masterpieces adorn a place of mass- intoxication. But, everyone has their price, and Parrish finally relented when Astor offered up $5,000, an actual grand sum at the time.

Here’s where the secret comes in. Parrish was asked to paint a scene from the children’s rhyme about Old King Cole (the merry old soul…you remember). Astor, being probably the richest man in the world at the time, fancied himself king, and wanted Parrish to paint his face as King Cole’s.

And that Parrish did…only with a subtle dig. If you look carefully at King Cole’s attendants, they are all smirking. It seems Parrish’s art world friends dared him to paint Old King Cole passing a royal fart…sitting upon his throne. And so he did, bringing an utterly déclassé act directly above the constant passing of New York’s Elite.

Who: Maxfield Parrish

What: Old King Cole Mural

Where: King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel, 2 East 55th Street

5 Responses to “Maxfield Parrish’s Painted Fart- and the Bloody Mary”
  1. Robin Lee says:

    Hi Lori, Robin Lee here, That mural of Parrish, old King Cole, on my film footage and in my photos are pictures and film of almost all the back drops of what u see in that mural. Those fabulous columns that Parrish designed were in his second main entrance and that wall surrounded a good part of the upper level where Parrish built the studio and their is the large oak tree that Parrish embedded in many of his paintings, his estate was called—The Oaks. he had two of them. Those columns were destroyed in the destruction of that estate their iconic presence is in many of the masterpieces that Lucas now owns such as Daybreak. He said Star Wars was inspired by the art work of Parrish. Are u interested in this story now because that estate art studio of Parrish provided almost all the back drops for the masterpieces! Sure I am pushing my movie, of course it is vital info to the entire world and i must get it discovered and soon. We need publicity as soon as possible, this is a fantastic and powerful story yet it is an eye opener. Be a part of this or don’t, I will not be contacting u again as I continue to find others to help reveal this story and a major motion picture that will go global. Thank you Lori for your time, Robin This is good stuff

  2. Robin Lee says:

    Thank u — Thank u Lori for allowing my story on your site it is vital that this story hits the Star Wars/ Maxfield Parrish fan. I have discovered another good piece of important info for the world of Star Wars and also the art world too. Sue Lewin, she was the model to Maxfield Parrish and she is painted on almost all of his masterpieces. She was painted as both male and female and in that beautiful and amazing mural, Old King Cole,,,,,, that is mostly her. That is a fact so I continue to push this story of Sue Lewin a strong woman in art history, **** BUT what I now have discovered and it is my theory and I am usually correct, is that Sue Lewin looks exactly like the late, Carrie Fisher. you be the judge. Lucas inspired off of Parrish paintings to Create Star Wars and it makes sense that Carrie was a part of the reasoning. Sue would be proud and she deserves this story to hit the fan.
    Girl power is needed and guys too to help release Sue and discover her story that I have worked on for twenty years now and I have back up and plenty of it, info I was allowed to salvage at the Parrish estate art studio. Valuable info was on it’s way to the dump and I got it. I have protected it for years and now I need help to get this story global by all of you, please. View and The force is here and it does exist.

  3. CurtisLize says:


  4. Robin Lee says:


    ( The Game of Nerds origins of Star Wars the case for Maxfield Parrish ).

    Look it up and then pass it all over the planet.

  5. It’s really a cool and helpful piece of information.

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