Dick LaBonté Anchor & Palette Gallery

At the Garden of Allah

When he decided to paint an imaginary party scene featuring oldtime movie stars, Dick LaBonte had difficulty selecting an appropriate setting. Several ideas had been tried and discarded when he came upon a book about the fabled old Hollywood bungalow hotel, The Garden of Allah. Allah Nazimova, a Russian-born stage actress, moved into the big Spanish-style house on Sunset Blvd in 1918. It stood on 4 lush acres. Nazimova added a swimming pool-Hollywood’s largest-shaped like the Black Sea in her native Crimea. Her home became one of Hollywood’s popular social centers. But as Allah’s screen popularity waned in the early 1920s, she formed a syndicate to turn her estate into a hotel. 25 bungalows were built around the pool and the Garden of Allah opened in 1927. The partying at the Garden never stopped. Many of Hollywood’s most famous people were to stay at the Garden, or live in its cottages. The heyday of the Garden of Allah was the period from the mid-30s to the end of WWII. Artist LaBonte has peopled his imaginary party with more than 90 movie stars of those years. By 1959 the Garden had outlived its day. One last party included over 1000 guests to bid the old hotel a farewell by the wrecking ball.  Click here for the guestlist of those attending LaBonte's party.

Image size: 16x25.

Offset lithograph. Limited edition of 1950. Unsigned.