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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beauford and the Catalog of American Portraits

In researching last week's posting about Beauford's works at the National Portrait Gallery, I learned about the Catalog of American Portraits. Known by the acronym CAP, it maintains records of historically significant American portraits - those made of notable American subjects or created by notable American artists.

CAP has been cataloging portraits since 1971, when it initiated a survey of public and private collections across the country. Its surveyors travel to participating collections to examine the portraits firsthand and to gather additional information on each work.

Beauford's name appears eleven (11) times in the CAP search database. Three James Baldwin portraits, the portraits of May Swenson and Ethel Waters (discussed in last week's posting), and two O'Keeffe portraits of Beauford are catalogued. The remainder of the works consists of three self-portraits of Beauford and his portrait of Rosa Parks. The owners of all works are listed and photos of a few of the works are presented.

The owner of the three self-portraits and the Rosa Parks portrait is listed as Philippe Briet Inc. Philippe and Sylvain Briet operated an art gallery in Manhattan during the 1980s and 90s and worked diligently to bring Beauford's paintings to the attention of the art world. Click here to read the article that Les Amis published about the Briet Brothers in January 2010.

Philippe wrote an essay about Beauford that he addressed to Sylvain in 1995. In it, he writes of the essence of Beauford's art and spirit. The article (in French) can be found in Philippe Briet: Art Art Art, the catalog created for the 2007 exposition of the same name presented by the Lower Normandy region of France.

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