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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Beauford's Paris: Saint Germain des Prés

The Saint Germain des Prés district in Paris was important to Beauford for personal and professional reasons.

He serendipitously encountered James Baldwin at the famous Café de Flore on his first full day in Paris in 1953. According to biographer David A. Leeming, Beauford

... had made his way down to St. Germain des Prés and was crossing the street between the Café Flore and the Brasserie Lipp when he heard a voice urgently shouting his name. In an instant, with horns honking all around him, he was wrapped in the arms of James Baldwin...

Café de Flore ca. 1950
Roger-Viollet

Café de Flore today
© Discover Paris!

Baldwin was having a drink with his friend Mary Painter at the time, and she and Beauford became great friends. Painter had an apartment at an unknown number on rue Bonaparte, where Beauford, Baldwin, and other friends visited her often.

Beauford and Baldwin were patrons of the night spot Le(s) Nuage(s), owned by Johnny Romero and located on rue Bernard Palissy. The March 1966 edition of Negro Digest reported the club to be

the place where the new generation of Negro American expatriates congregate in Paris...just around the corner from the famed Cafe de Flore and Aux Deux Magots.

[It] is directed by Juan Romero, out of Puerto Rico via Spanish Harlem and Greenwich Village.

Photo of Beauford, Baldwin, Romero, and unknown person
at Les Nuages; found in Beauford's paintbox
© Discover Paris!

Beauford exhibited paintings in group shows at the Galerie Breteau, 70, rue Bonaparte, in 1959, 1961, and 1962. The gallery was less than three minute's walk from the monolithic church, Saint-Sulpice.

Saint Sulpice
© Discover Paris!

His works were featured many times at the American Cultural Center, 3 rue de Dragon, and he was honored with a one-man show there in 1969.

We Love Beauford
(Beauford is front and center)
Photo courtesy of Robert Tricoire




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