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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Les Amis Pays Homage to Darthea Speyer

Darthea Speyer passed away on May 20, 2014, at the age of 95. She was one of Beauford's strongest and most faithful supporters during his Paris years.

Beauford and Darthea Speyer (left) at American Cultural Center event
Image courtesy of Robert Tricoire
Reproduced with permission by the U. S. Embassy in Paris

Darthea grew up surrounded by art. Her mother was a painter and a sculptress. Both of her parents collected art and Darthea began her own collection at the tender age of 15. Her sister is a painter and her brother was an architect who went on to become the curator of 20th-century Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Darthea studied art history at New York University. She came to Paris as a cultural attaché for the United States Information Services (USIS) in 1950 and began to encourage interest in American art among the French. She opened the American Cultural Center on rue de Dragon in 1957 and the Galerie Darthea Speyer on rue Jacques Callot (designed by her brother, James) in 1968. She commissioned many paintings by Beauford (including the portrait represented in the image below) and showed his works at both of these venues.

(1965) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Galerie Darthea Speyer

Through her work, American artists became much better known and solicited in France.

Due to failing health, she closed her gallery in early 2010 and returned permanently to the United States. Her treasure trove of art was sold at auction at Christie's Paris. Several of Beauford's paintings were among the collection.

To read more about Darthea and Beauford, click HERE.

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