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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beauford's Paris: Ile Saint-Louis

Quai d'Orléans and Notre Dame Cathedral Viewed from the Left Bank
© Discover Paris!

American writer James Jones and his family lived in an apartment building on quai'd'Orléans, Ile Saint-Louis from 1958-1975. James Baldwin introduced him to Beauford in Paris in 1958. According to David A. Leeming's biography Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, the Joneses became so fond of Beauford that they eventually gave him a key to their apartment and invited him over frequently. They also commissioned several paintings from him. Jones supported his application for a Fairfield Foundation grant in 1964 and gave Beauford a tribute at his October 1964 one-man show at the Galerie Lambert (no longer in existence) at number 14 on the island's main thoroughfare, rue Saint-Louis en l'Ile. Five years later, Jones would comment at another of Beauford's shows that he was "the complete artist, not just in the medium of paint but in the medium of life."

Rue Saint-Louis en l'Ile
© Discover Paris!

Most of the information that I have found about the Jones' abode indicates that it was located at 10, quai d'Orléans. One story published by the James Jones Literary Society indicates that the Joneses lived on the second floor. As I walked along the quay yesterday, I decided to look for the building and take a photo of the place where Beauford spent so much time over the years. Curiously, I found no edifice that bears the number 10 on its façade.

Because of a description in Frommer's Paris from $95 a Day, which indicates that the Joneses lived on the corner of rue Budé and quai d'Orléans, I must assume that the "round cornered" building pictured below is indeed the place. (12, quai d'Orléans is plainly indicated on the façade of the building on the opposite corner of the intersection.)

10, quai d'Orléans
© Discover Paris!

The corner windows in this building overlook the Seine, where the Joneses and their visitors - including Beauford - enjoyed a view of pont Saint-Louis and the flying buttresses at the rear of Notre Dame Cathedral.

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