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Saturday, November 15, 2014

De Hirsh Margules' Portrait of Beauford

Portrait of Beauford Delaney
De Hirsh Margules
(ca. early 1950s) Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Adrian Lesher
Reprinted with the permission of Adam Tansky

De Hirsh Margules (1899–1965) was a Romanian-born American "abstract realist" painter who crossed paths with many major American artistic and intellectual figures of the first half of the 20th century. Elaine de Kooning said that he was "[w]idely recognized as one of the most gifted and erudite watercolorists in the country"... He was also a well-known participant in the bohemian culture of New York City's Greenwich Village, where he was widely known as the "Baron" of Greenwich Village. --Wikipedia

Adrian Lesher is the owner of the painting depicted above. He has done a good bit of research on Margules and is the primary contributor to the Wikipedia page on Margules. He contacted me to ask whether I could verify that Beauford was the man in the portrait and provide him with information about any contact that Margules may have had with him. I was quickly able to confirm that the portrait is of Beauford.

I was not able to find any direct evidence of a relationship between Margules and Beauford, but I have subsequently learned that they traveled in the same circles in New York and had many friends in common. Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, John Marin, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Henry Miller were among them.

Margules left New York in 1927 to spend two years in Paris. He returned in 1929, the same year that Beauford arrived.

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