Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford.

Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!



Saturday, April 30, 2011

Special Video: Richard A. Long Talks about Beauford - Part 1

I was delighted to learn that Beauford's friend Richard A. Long, curator of the first retrospective of Beauford’s works that was mounted at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1978, would be visiting Paris this week. Tom and I met him at his hotel, where he was gracious enough to allow us to video him talking about Beauford:

Note: The High Museum obtained Beauford's portrait of Richard Long in 2001.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beauford in Color

I found this beautiful COLOR photo of Beauford, taken by Carl Van Vechten on March 18, 1953, while surfing the Web last week:

Portrait of Beauford Delaney
© 1953 Carl Van Vechten
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

I then found a second portrait on another Web site (with no attributions mentioned) a few days later:

Van Vechten undoubtedly took these photos on the same day that he took the black and white photo that has graced the side bar of this blog since its inception in November 2009.  He took them only five months before Beauford set sail for Paris on the S. S. Liberté.

Beauford looks quite handsome, doesn't he?

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Beauford at the Art Miami Basel Festival

Laurence Choko, proprietor of the Galerie Intemporel in Paris, displayed the Beauford Delaney painting entitled Portrait de Vasilli Pikoula during her Ten is One exposition at the Art Miami Basel Festival in December 2010.

Works by Arturo Montoto and Beauford Delaney
Exposition Ten is One , Art Basel Miami Festival 2010
Photo courtesy of Galerie Intemporel

Choko has the following to say about Beauford’s work, and about this portrait (shown at the right in the photo above) in particular:

I love the expressionist aspect of Beauford Delaney’s figurative works. The subjects of his portraits often express great emotion, and their vulnerability brings them alive for me.

What I admire in the Portrait de Vasilli Pikoula, which I included in the Ten is One exposition from the Art Basel Miami Festival last December, is the generosity with which he represented his painter friend (Pikoula was a Greek painter). In this portrait, Delaney gives her an aristocratic air – it reminds me of the dignified, old women of the Antilles who carried themselves well regardless of their social position.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Beauford and Larry Calcagno

An Artistic Friendship: Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno
Catalog cover for art exposition
Palmer Museum of Art (2001)

Larry Calcagno was one of Beauford’s closest friends. They met in Paris through their mutual friend Charley Boggs. Beauford and Calcagno were both artists, both gay men, and both deeply philosophical. Beauford’s biographer, David A. Leeming, describes their relationship as “intellectually intense, but for the most part physically platonic.”

Calcagno had a studio on rue Vercingétorix, the street where Beauford’s patron Mme du Closel would later purchase a studio for Beauford. Beauford spent a great deal of time there before Calcagno returned to the United States. Calcagno gave Beauford several canvases, paper for watercolor paintings, and paints prior to his departure.

See a letter written by Beauford to Calcagno, dated December 1953, below.

Letter from Beauford to Larry Calcagno, December 1953
Images: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Instititution

The two men would correspond regularly for many years, with Beauford frequently confiding his emotional difficulties to Calcagno in his writings.

Calcagno returned to Europe in 1955, and invited Beauford to accompany him on the first of several trips that they would take together. He and Beauford traveled to Madrid for Calcagno’s art exposition at the Gallery Clan. Calcagno was able to convince the gallery to mount a show for Beauford in June 1955. It was Beauford’s first solo exposition in Europe, and it was a commercial success. In 1956, Calcagno and Beauford visited Ibiza, Spain, where they met up with James Baldwin and other friends. Calcagno, Darthea Speyer, and Charley Boggs took Beauford on a trip to Venice in 1966, where they attended the Bienniale exposition.

Larry Calcagno, Beauford, and Charley Boggs in Venice
Photo from Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney (1998)

Calcagno would frequently send Beauford money with his letters – money that Beauford often desperately needed. When Beauford required hospitalization after his 1961 suicide attempt, Calcagno contributed money to pay for Beauford’s care and came to Paris to visit Beauford during this difficult time. In the spring of 1975, he interrupted his European travels to come to Paris to search for Beauford, who had disappeared. Calcagno wrote of this episode, saying:
He disappeared a couple of times. This time he can’t seem to be located. We called and looked in all the places where one might want to disappear to—I know a lot of them. He must still be alive, his body would have shown up. He has just simply dissolved himself to escape the final cruelty of the world. I weep for him and I bless him!
Beauford was eventually found. He was committed to Sainte-Anne’s Hospital soon thereafter.

The relationship between Beauford and Larry Calcagno can be summarized in a single phrase that Beauford wrote in a letter to Calcagno in 1968, in which he described a “deathless kinship that is constant [and] is always alive and close between us.”

Saturday, April 2, 2011

More on Beauford's Last Studio - Rue Vercingétorix

You may recall that I published a posting about Beauford's last studio, which was located at 53, rue Vercingétorix in Paris' 14th arrondissement, last year. (Click here to see photos of the neighborhood in its current state as well as photos of the interior of the studio and Beauford and Henry Miller in the courtyard outside.)

I have finally found a photo of the façade of the building that was located at this address!

53, rue Vercingétorix
Photo by Nicholas Breach
The Streets of Paris by Richard Cobb (1980) Pantheon Books

According to Beauford's dear friend Burt Reinfrank, Beauford's studio overlooked a schoolyard. The photo below may represent that same schoolyard.

Abandoned School, rue Vercingétorix
Photo by Nicholas Breach
The Streets of Paris by Richard Cobb (1980) Pantheon Books

Rue Vercingétorix was part of what used to be known as the quartier de Gergovie, which was originally settled by immigrants from Brittany. The photos shown above were taken during the 1970s, at a time when the neighborhood was in steep decline. This was the state of affairs during Beauford's last years there.