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, November 24, 2012

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries - Part 1

I am pleased to present this multi-part article about Beauford's works at Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries in Atlanta, GA. Many thanks to Tina Dunkley and her assistant Cynthia Ham for providing the interview and images upon which this article is based.

I recently had a long chat with Tina Dunkley about the seven Beauford Delaney works held by the Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries (CAUAG).

Dunkley, who has directed the galleries since 1994 and is an artist in her own right, had quite an interesting tale to tell about the acquisition of these paintings. They were part of a bequest to the university made by one of Beauford's dearest friends, James Baldwin.

Dr. Richard A. Long informed CAUAG of the bequest at the time that Dunkley was in the midst of renovating the space in which the collections are now shown - the former reading room of the library in Trevor Arnett Hall. Long provided a list of the works to be given to the university, all of which were located at Baldwin's home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in southern France. Beauford spent a great deal of time with Baldwin and other friends at this property, and painted here as well.

Baldwin's Property at Saint Paul de Vence
Photos courtesy of Professor Francine Allen, Morehouse College

Dunkley began communicating with the attorney of the Baldwin estate about collecting the works in December 1994.

Because Baldwin's will was in probate and was being contested, Dunkley feared that the university might not be able to acquire the works that Baldwin intended it to have. She asked Avery Glize-Kane, the attorney for the estate, whether the art work was part of the contestation. Relieved to learn that the answer was no, she went to Saint-Paul-de-Vence to claim the items that were to be sent to the university. There were thirty-three (33) works on the list that Long provided. Among them were eleven paintings by Beauford. Other artists represented in the bequest included César, Arman, Paul Jenkins, and Henri Baviera.

As Dunkley went through the process of checking the inventory, she discovered that several paintings on the list were not at Baldwin's home. Glize-Kane could not account for what happened to them. Dunkley arranged for the shipment of the works that she could find and returned to the U.S.

In Part 2 of this article, learn what Dunkley found when the shipment arrived in Atlanta.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Beauford's Paris: Rue des Carmes

In looking for references to Thanksgiving in Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, I found a passage that talks about Beauford spending a great deal of time at the apartment of his friend Mary Painter in the 5th arrondissement.  Biographer David Leeming states that on most weekends between January and November 1956, Beauford and whomever else was staying at Beauford's Clamart residence would go to visit Painter at her "new and very grand apartment" on rue des Carmes (exact address not mentioned).  These people included James Baldwin and his lover Arnold, Bernard Hassell, and Richard Olney.   They enjoyed extravagant meals prepared by Painter and Olney, listened to jazz and blues, and drank lots of whisky.  They called these parties the "Saturday Night Functions" after the song of the same name.

The Pantheon viewed from rue des Carmes
© Discover Paris!

The final gathering at the Painter apartment took place on Thanksgiving Day 1956, after which Painter left Paris to return to the U.S.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"The Doom Music"

Beauford became very close to painter Charley Boggs, his wife Gita, and their son Gordon, soon after he moved to Paris in 1953.  He was a frequent visitor to their Montparnasse apartment and often dined with them there.  After dinner, they would listen to a wide variety of music ranging from gospel to classical.

Charley Boggs
Detail from a photo of Beauford, Charley, and Larry Calcagno in Venise in 1966

One of their favorite pieces was "Adagio in G-Minor for Strings and Organ," which they called "The Doom Music."  Often attributed (incorrectly) to Venetian composer Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, it is a beautiful composition. To listen to it, click on the image above.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Plaque for Beauford: Update

Several weeks ago, I wrote about my intention to have a plaque to honor Beauford installed in Montparnasse.  This is a brief update on my progress.

A few weeks ago, I had an appointment with Danièle Pourtaud, the person in charge of patrimoine (heritage) in the 14th arrondissement.  Because she had never heard of Beauford, I spent a few minutes telling her about him and his life in Montparnasse.  I explained that with the exception of the few years that he lived in Clamart, Montparnasse had been his home.  I also told her that my first choice for the location of the plaque is on the façade of the Hôtel Lenox on rue Delambre.  Formerly called Hôtel des Ecoles, it is where Beauford lived for the majority of his first three years in Paris and is only a couple of minutes walk from his favorite cafés - Le Dôme and Le Select.

Hôtel Lenox (formerly Hôtel des Ecoles)
© Discover Paris!

Mme Pourtaud's response was quite encouraging. She told me the exact procedure to follow and said that as long as I was able to complete all the steps required, she would support my effort!

What do I, as president of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, need to do?  First, I must contact the owner of the building and obtain permission to place the plaque there.  To do so, I will need to create an initial communication that is sufficiently intriguing to gain an audience, at which point I will need to present my case.

Provided that I am successful, I then need to petition the City of Paris and fill out the appropriate form, which will include providing the text that will be on the plaque.  I simultaneously need to contact Mme Pourtaud to inform her of my progress.

Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall)
© Discover Paris!

After gaining approval from the City of Paris, Mme Pourtaud will put me in contact with companies that manufacture plaques so that I can request cost estimates.  I am free to contact other companies not on her list as well.

The next step will be to pay for the plaque.  At this point, I have no idea how much this might cost.  Another fundraiser may be required!

Finally, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney will arrange for the date and time for the plaque's placement on the building's façade.

If, by chance, I am not successful in convincing the owners of the Hôtel Lenox to agree to have the plaque placed on the hotel's façade, then I'll need to find another suitable place and begin the process again.

Though the course of action is straightforward, it risks being very lengthy.  I will keep you posted!