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Saturday, May 17, 2014

James LeGros Remembers Beauford - Part 2

In Part 1 of James LeGros Remembers Beauford, I presented Jim's recollections of his first meeting with Beauford, Beauford's visits to his home in Vélizy, and his thoughts about Beauford's personality and his habits. In Part 2, I share information that Jim provided about Beauford's tutelle - the guardianship that the City of Paris created to protect Beauford's interests when he was a patient at Sainte-Anne's Hospital.

Profile of Beauford Delaney
- detail
Multiple images
1973 Acrylic on canvas
© James K. LeGros
Image by Discover Paris!

Jim was one of seven persons selected by the City of Paris to participate in a tutelle - an official guardianship formed to look after Beauford's person and affairs when he was committed to Sainte-Anne's Hospital. He received a letter from the Mairie of the 14th arrondissement, dated 9 January 1976, inviting him to participate in a meeting to be convened at the Mairie on January 26 for the purpose of establishing the guardianship.

This was a "command performance" - the group being formed was permanent and those selected to participate would have been fined had they missed this meeting without an appropriate excuse.

Tutelle invitation letter
© Discover Paris!

Mairie of the 14th arrondissement
© Discover Paris!

Jim recalls that of the the remaining six persons in the tutelle, he knew only James Baldwin and Bernard Hassell well. He had a passing acquaintance with Ahmed Bioud and Darthea Speyer, and only met Burt Reinfrank and Solange du Closel at this first meeting.

Jim was named as Beauford's subrogé-tuteur, or surrogate guardian. His role was to defend Beauford's interests in the event that the guardians of his person (Bernard Hassell) and his belongings (James Baldwin) ever acted in a way that was counter to Beauford's best interests.

Two days after the meeting on January 26, Jim received a letter stating that Beauford's dossier had been transferred to the Mairie of the 5th arrondissement because this was where Bernard Hassell lived.

Beauford was able to stay in Sainte-Anne's because Solange du Closel enrolled him in a health care program for artists. Jim would visit him there several times during the four years that he lived there. He saw his friend's mental and physical capacity slowly slip away.

In March 1978, a year before Beauford died, the hospital sent Jim a letter expressing their grave concern about Beauford's declining health.

Letter to James LeGros from Sainte-Anne's Hospital
© Discover Paris!

Jim continued to visit Beauford after his friend no longer recognized him and even after Beauford fell into a state of semi-consciousness. He recalls being ushered to Beauford's room by a nurse on one of these visits to find a photographer snapping multiple photos of an unaware Beauford. The whereabouts of the photographer and these photos remain unknown.

On March 27, 1979, Sainte-Anne's addressed a letter to Jim to inform him of Beauford's death the day before.

Letter to James LeGros announcing Beauford's death
© Discover Paris!

Jim was the only member of the tutelle to attend Beauford's funeral and burial.

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