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Saturday, January 5, 2019


The images below represent two paintings by Beauford that bare the (misspelled) name of the French town of Solliès-Toucas. Beauford's friends, Richard Olney and Bernard Hassell, owned a home there.

Sollis Toucan 
(1963) Oil on canvas
Signed, dated and titled, on the stretcher
16 3/8 x 13 inches
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Soullis Toucas
(Beauford's gift to Roy Freeman)
Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In the book entitled The Gourmand's Way, we find descriptions of the property where Beauford created these works. It overlooked the valley of the Gapeau River, where

"...cherry orchards transformed the valley into a blanket of white blossom in early April, the ground of the hillsides formed a tapestry of the blues and violets of flowering wild thyme, punctuated by bushes of wild rosemary..."

Author Justin Spring describes Olney and Hassell's home as a "ruined shepherd's cottage," a "one-bedroom home" featuring "a combination kitchen and hearth as its main room." He says that the terrace was the place where guests gathered and describes a "dining table tucked into a combination of sun awning and grape arbor" there. Olney decorated the terrace with a string of lights and planted flowers and herbs on parterres below. The house had a southeastern exposure, which provided for plenty of sun most of the year. The surrounding land consisted of seven acres of olive groves.

Throughout much of the 1960s (the period when at least one of the above paintings was created), there was no road leading to the property. The house had no running water and no phone. Cooking was done on a gas ring. The garden housed "a walk-in aviary and chicken run, a gently dripping fountain, a persimmon tree..."

Over time, improvements to the property included the addition of a fireplace in the kitchen, a driveway and parking area, and a wine cellar.

Guests would commonly stay 1-2 weeks at a time and were expected to contribute to the functioning of the household - foraging for wild herbs and vegetables, preparing meals, stacking wood were all activities in which they could expect to partake.

This was the world where biographer David Leeming says that "Beauford painted a great deal, and, as always, enjoyed the sun..."

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