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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beauford's Paris: Cité Falguière

Cité Falguière, viewed from the end of the impasse
© Ralf.treinen
Creative Commons License

Cité Falguière is an impasse located near the rear of the Montparnasse train station in the 15th arrondissement. Less than ten-minute's walk from the location of Beauford's last studio on rue Vercingétorix, it was constructed as a series of 30 ateliers for artists during the late 19th century. Urban renewal of the impasse began in the 1960s and of the original structures, only Numbers 9 and 11 remain standing today (shown above). Both buildings continue to house artists' studios.

One of Beauford's dearest friends, Charley Boggs, lived in a small studio at 5, cité Falguière. Boggs was a painter whom Beauford met during his first few weeks in Paris in 1953; the two men became close when Boggs brought Beauford chicken broth while Beauford was suffering from the flu in October of that year. Boggs, his wife Gita, and their son Gordon, became a surrogate family for Beauford, but Boggs and his wife had separated by the time he moved to the Cité.

Beauford would visit Boggs frequently at his studio and would often sleep in the loft there during the early 1970s. For a brief time in 1969, Beauford rented a studio near Cité Falguière in which to store his paintings.

Beauford would undoubtedly have been thrilled to know that Ecole de Paris painter Amadeo Modigliani had a studio at Cité Falguière (Number 14). Modigliani's name was found on one of Beauford's sketchbook journals dating from the early 1940s in connection with Beauford's studies on the use of color. Other well known artists from Modigliani's era who lived and worked at the Cité were Chaim Soutine (Number 11), Tsuguharu Foujita, and Constantin Brancusi (whom Beauford knew personally).

African-American painters Ed Clark (a personal friend of Beauford) and Sylvester Britton also worked in studios at Cité Falguière after the Second World War.

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