Saturday, July 26, 2014

Les Amis Breaks for the Summer

It's summertime!

Beauford's painting Composition 16 (shown below) has all the warmth and glow of a summer day.

Composition 16
(1954-56) Oil on canvas
Private Collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York , NY

We're taking a few weeks off to rest and rejuvenate. We'll be back before September to bring you more great information about Beauford's life and art.

Hope you're enjoying or looking forward to a fabulous vacation!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beauford and Pablo Picasso

Beauford was influenced by the work of Pablo Picasso during his New York and Paris years.

Portrait of Pablo Picasso
Oil on canvas, 46 cm x 38 cm
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Christian Parramon

In New York, his friends and mentors, Alfred Steiglitz and Stuart Davis, were strong proponents of studying the works of European modernist painters such as Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, and Cézanne. According to David A. Leeming, Beauford's only biographer, Beauford developed a "theoretical interest in cubism as represented by Braque and Picasso."

In Paris, Beauford took a course in modern art featuring Braque, Picasso, and Vlaminck at the Musée d'Art Moderne. He would even meet Picasso in a gallery.

Beauford painted the portrait of Picasso shown above during his Paris years. The exact date is unknown.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Beauford in Vélizy

From time to time, I write a post to share contemporary photos of areas that Beauford frequented in Paris and the neighboring suburbs - the sites he saw, the streets he knew...

Today, I'm bringing you beautiful photos of the home and surroundings of Beauford's dear friend, James LeGros. Jim and his wife Bunny were Beauford's "dear friends in the country" and Beauford spent considerable time with them in the Paris suburb of Vélizy.

According to Jim, Beauford would take the train out to visit him and Bunny.

Cheville-Vélizy train station
© Discover Paris!

But when he had a mind to, Beauford would walk back to his apartment in Clamart, which was over 5 1/2 miles (8.9 km) away when following roads!

Photographer Christian Parramon was gracious enough to share photos of the LeGros home and neighborhood, where Beauford felt so welcome. These images (below) provide a broader perspective than the ones I published in Part 1 of Jim's tribute to Beauford.

The area has been built up since the late 50s, but it is still wooded, idyllic, and peaceful.

Forest and pond behind the LeGros home
© Christian Parramon

Clouds reflected in the étang (pond) behind the LeGros home
© Christian Parramon

View of the LeGros house (far right) from across the étang (pond)
© Christian Parramon

Yard at the LeGros house
© Christian Parramon

Advertisement on the side of the LeGros house
© Christian Parramon

View of first floor window of the LeGros house
© Christian Parramon

Living room of the LeGros house
© Christian Parramon

Hallway of the LeGros house
© Christian Parramon

Thank you, Christian!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Beauford and the Brouards - Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I spoke of a delightful luncheon hosted by Geneviève and Jean-Claude Brouard in honor of Beauford. Today I am sharing more stories about Beauford and the Brouards.

Geneviève would frequently visit Beauford at his Montparnasse studio on rue Vercingétorix. She purchased works from him, paying him handsomely so that he could live as long as possible on the money she paid for them. In addition to inviting him to dine with her family and with friends, she helped him financially in this way.

Untitled
(1962) Oil on canvas
39.4 x 31.9 inches; 100 x 81 cm
Signed on back: Beauford Delaney 1962
53 Rue Vercingétorix Paris
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image by Discover Paris!

She remembers that she and Jean-Claude would often run into Beauford in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area (where they viewed the film La Grande Bouffe together). They once found him seated on a bench reading a French newspaper. Geneviève said that Beauford spoke French well (contrary to what is indicated in Beauford’s biography, Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, which says that he never overcame his “inadequacies in French”). She said that she and Jean-Claude could not have spent so much time with him otherwise because their spoken English was not strong.

Geneviève recounts that Beauford visited the Brouards at home quite often, both when they lived in Paris’ 12th arrondissement and after they moved to Fontainebleau. She remembers that he loved children and described how he much he enjoyed the company of hers in the back seat of the car when she and Jean-Claude would drive him to his apartment in Clamart. She says that her kids have very fond memories of Beauford as well.

After spending an enjoyable evening with the Brouards, Beauford offered to paint Geneviève’s portrait. He intended it to be a gift, but he did not have the money to purchase the canvas. So Geneviève went with him to the art supply store and paid for the canvas that he selected.

Geneviève would then go to Beauford’s studio on rue Vercingétorix every Saturday morning to sit for her portrait. Each time, she sat in the same armchair – the chair that Beauford had all of his subjects sit in when he captured their likenesses on canvas.

The result was the painting shown below.

Portrait of Geneviève Brouard
(1964) Oil on canvas
15 x 12.6 inches; 40 x 32 cm
Signed on back: Beauford Delaney 1964
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image by Discover Paris!

It is one of Geneviève’s most treasured remembrances of Beauford.

Les Amis dedicates this article to Jean-Claude Brouard, who passed away on May 27, 2014. May you rest in peace, Jean-Claude.