Saturday, August 30, 2014

SS Liberté - Beauford's Transport on His First Trip to Paris

Beauford embarked on his first voyage to France on August 28, 1953, sailing on the French ocean liner SS Liberté. His biographer, David A. Leeming, begins his brief description of the trip in Amazing Grace as follows:

The passage from New York to Le Havre was one of the happiest interludes of Beauford's life. On the French ship he was treated with respect, and had the rare luxury of comfortable quarters, three full meals a day, and a midnight snack. Life had never been so easy for him. ...for once there was no shortage of money.

Beauford on the deck of the SS Liberté
Photo from David Leeming’s Amazing Grace

Elsewhere on the Les Amis blog (Beauford's Ocean Voyage to Paris), I have written about the history of the Liberté and the fact that many African Americans enjoyed sailing on this vessel. What I am pleased to share with you today is a link for a treasure trove of photos of the ship, illustrating numerous first class apartments, the spacious dining room, and other areas:

Pinterest - SS Liberté

While I have no details about Beauford's cabin or the deck on which it was located, the common areas of the ship were certainly open to him. The Liberté was very likely the most luxurious accommodation he ever experienced!

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!