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, May 28, 2011

Beauford's Portraits

In "A Narrative of Belonging: The Art of Beauford Delaney and Glenn Ligon," Dr. Catherine St. John writes:

It is the expressive single-figure realist portrait that first brought Beauford Delaney critical notice and a measure of success. He loved people. He continued the art of portraiture without interruption throughout his career. His portraits tell a story that is human and real, saying as much about him as those he painted.

When I reread this excerpt from Dr. St. John's paper, I was inspired to look at images of dozens of portraits that Beauford painted during his lifetime. I bring you several below; these have not been displayed previously on the Les Amis blog.

Untitled (Portrait of a Young Woman)
(1934) Color pastels
Private collection

Michael Fraenkel
(1946) Drawing
From Death, A Literary Quarterly Vol 1, No. 1 (Summer 1946)

Marian Anderson
(1965) Oil on Canvas
©2001 Malcolm Varon

Portrait of Bernard Hassell
(ca 1971) Oil on Canvas
Estate of Beauford Delaney

Ella Fitzgerald
(1968) Oil on canvas
The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art

Beauford painted pastel portraits of Duke Ellington and W.E.B. DuBois, but I have never found images of them. If any of you have seen these portraits, or images of them, please let me know by leaving a comment below!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Film about Beauford

Since the founding of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney in 2009, I have spoken with several filmmakers who have expressed interest in creating a work about Beauford. Zachary J. Miller of 2 Bulls on the Hill Productions is the first to take concrete action on this idea. He is currently producing a short film (30 minutes or less) about Beauford – the man and the artist. Miller’s goal is to present several aspects of Beauford’s life and a few of the many works that he created while living in Paris.

Zachary J. Miller
© Discover Paris!

Miller is a long time Paris resident. His idea for the film evolved after he donated his services and those of his team to film and photograph Beauford’s gravesite ceremony and reception in October 2010. Since then, he has sought out individuals in Paris who own Delaney paintings, interviewed them, and filmed and photographed the works. He has also interviewed persons who knew Beauford personally, and recorded their anecdotes and other remembrances.

Miller will direct and produce the short film, which does not have a title at present. Because of the volume of footage that he has recorded and the richness of the interviews that he has conducted, he is considering creating a documentary instead of a short film. He will make a final decision about this once he has conducted his final interviews.

The most important and extensive of Miller’s interviews was with Burt Reinfrank, a dear friend of Beauford who spends several months a year in Paris with his wife Pat. Miller and I met with the Reinfranks in their apartment, where we listened to Burt recount numerous stories about his relationship with Beauford, Beauford’s persona, and Beauford’s art.

Miller filming Burt and Pat Reinfrank
in their Paris apartment
© Discover Paris!

Other persons interviewed include Tannie Stovall, co-founder of 2 Bulls on the Hill Productions and a personal acquaintance of Beauford, and Constance Borde, president of Democrats Abroad and owner of a Delaney painting.

2 Bulls on the Hill Productions is an American-owned and operated French film production company with offices in Paris and Saint Tropez. The company produces feature films, documentaries, short films, and programs for television. It regularly participates in the Cannes Film Festival in France and takes part in other international film festivals such as the Raindance Film Festival in the UK as well.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beauford and Al Hirschfeld

Caricature of Beauford Delaney (1941)
Albert Hirschfeld
Charcoal on paper, Private collection
Image from Beauford Delaney: New York to Paris catalog
Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Al Hirschfeld was a well-known caracaturist and a friend of Beauford. Little detail is available in print about their relationship, but it is evident that Hirschfeld (and his wife, Dolly) were very fond of Beauford and supportive of him as well.

Much of what we know comes from the Leeming biography Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney. Beauford met Hirschfeld in New York, when Beauford was working as a doorman at the Whitney Studio Galleries (which would become the Whitney Museum). They became friends, and Beauford would go on to sketch Hirschfeld and paint his portrait. Hirschfeld was a part of Beauford's life during the "New York Years," socializing with him and introducing him to people who would become Beauford's patrons and friends as well. He and his wife would also visit Beauford several times in Paris.

Leeming indicates that Hirschfeld, Don Freeman, and other friends helped Beauford through a period of depression that began at the end of 1941. Hirschfeld contributed funds for the ticket that Beauford purchased to sail to France in 1953 and arranged for Beauford to meet people in the art gallery world once he arrived in Paris. He introduced Beauford to Sergei Radamsky, a singer and music teacher with whom Beauford would travel through Europe in 1954. When Beauford needed medical care after his suicide attempt in 1961, Hirschfeld was among the many friends that sent money to settle Beauford's hospital bill.

Al Hirschfeld's papers are held by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian. Among them, one finds letters from Beauford to Hirschfeld and a loan agreement from the Studio Museum in Harlem for one of Beauford's works. Two Delaney paintings that were owned by the Hirschfelds' were shown at the Studio Museum's 1978 exposition of Beauford's works: The Time of Your Life and Greene Street.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Special Video: Richard A. Long talks about Beauford - Part 2

Catalog for Studio Museum in Harlem exposition

In Part 2 of the video, Richard shares the story of how he came to be curator of Beauford's one-man show at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.