I first became acquainted with the name and work of Beauford around 1947. He had been the featured artist in the annual Pyramid Club Show, an event organized by the artists Dox Thrash and Humbert Howard. I did not attend the show, but of the few paintings sold, two were bought by Philadelphian Dorothy Warrick. I saw them and heard about Beauford upon visiting the Warrick family home in Germantown that Dorothy shared with her sister Marie. The Warrick sisters were the nieces of the sculptor Meta Warrick Fuller, whom I later met at their home. Their collection included work by a number of Philadelphia artists—Allan Freelon, John Abele, Henry Jones, and particularly, Laura Wheeler Waring. The almost brutal expressionism of the Delaney paintings posed quite a contrast to the calm visual language of the Philadelphians and was the subject of much discussion. There were those who thought that Dorothy had gone too far, inflicting on the sober décor of Warrick antiques and porcelain a New York state of mind. Dorothy, who had always been an independent spirit, had felt vindicated by a visit from Alain Locke who approved her selection. Subsequent to her purchase, Dorothy had visited Beauford’s studio in Greenwich Village, a trip that she described to me on several occasions.
I heard about Beauford over the years and saw several of his paintings, but I did not meet him until I began a year’s residence in Paris in 1957. I had encountered the composer Howard Swanson, who told me that Beauford was living in the Paris suburb of Clamart and offered to take me there for a visit. On a typically dreamy Sunday afternoon we went to see Beauford for a visit that stretched into several hours. This enabled me to view the transformation that Beauford’s paintings had undergone since his arrival in Paris some years before.
During the subsequent year I saw Beauford often, usually in St. Germain-des-Pres. I spent another year in France beginning in the fall of 1964, during which I saw Beauford frequently at his studio in Rue Vercingétorix. I sat for portraits--one in pastel and one in oil-- off and on in 1964 and 1965 during my visits to Paris from Poitiers, where I was working on my dissertation. It was in 1965 that Beauford did the oil portrait of me, which is now on view at the High Museum.