One of the things that we discussed was whether or not Les Amis would be able to get the Ambassador Rivkin's support for our project. Ms. Bullock told me that she would send a request to the Ambassador's office. It took several weeks, but I eventually received a warm and encouraging missive from the Ambassador himself!
I am so pleased with the tone and content of this letter that I want to share it with you. See the text, in its entirety, below:
Dear Ms. Wells,
I congratulate you on your founding of the association, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, which aims to preserve and honor the legacy of this important figure in twentieth century French and American art. Your association, which seeks in particular to place a monument on his final resting place in the Thiais cemetery, is maintaining the memory of a unique artist, whose life serves as an inspiration, and whose work, in addition to its aesthetic value, serves to preserve a special period in the history of both the United States and France.
As you well know, Beauford Delaney, a close friend of James Baldwin, produced work that is now part of both French and American cultural heritage. Delaney overcame poverty and the restrictions of segregation, following his dream to Paris, where he was able to paint and live freely in a culture that valued his work.
His work, which hangs in French embassies in Taiwan and Costa Rica as well as in U.S. museums such as the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, documents America in the 1930s and 40s, as well as American expatriate life in France. He later created beautiful abstract canvases celebrating color and light.
Delaney’s legacy therefore ought to be preserved and honored. Once again, I applaud your efforts and offer you my best wishes for the success of your association.
The Cultural Affairs office has encouraged me to attach this letter to fundraising appeals to indicate to potential contributors to the gravesite fund that the U.S. government supports Les Amis de Beauford Delaney. This is exactly what I am doing. I have written to corporate entities such as the New York Stock Exchange, museums and university art departments that currently own or have previously shown Beauford's works, and galleries that sell his works to ask them to support our cause. My hope is that these letters, in addition to this blog and the media releases that I publish, will serve to increase awareness of Beauford and his art as well as encourage donations in support of our cause.
We are now just beneath the $3000 mark in our fund. Once again, my humble and sincere thanks to those of you who have contributed thus far. I am planning to recognize our donors by placing a list of their names in the right margin of the blog. I will ask each donor's permission to publicly acknowledge him or her prior to creating the list. Look for it to appear soon!
If you have not yet contributed, I vigorously encourage you to do so! We still need $5500 to reach our fundraising goal for 2010.
President, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney