NedRa Bonds Podcast Interview

NedRa BondsOne can use many adjectives to describe the multiple dimensions of NedRa Bonds. Social Activist, Educator, Mixed- Fiber Artist, and Quilter are only a few. She is a woman who possesses the type of intellect that slices through bullshit. Her charisma and persistence can melt the strongest opponent. Categorizing Ms. Bonds is impossible because she defies all the neat, little boxes society likes to use to profile someone. She continues to make her voice her in support of “the people,” she educates anyone willing to listen about how art intersects with healing and self-identity. Moreover, Ms. Bonds’ unique quilting and dollmaking talents are like no other.

Enjoy listening to a podcast with NedRa Bonds. Additionally, you will find a video interview, and a written interview on fromacloud, The Official Site of NedRa Bonds.

Click here to listen to Podcast.

Beauford Delaney at the Pompidou Center

I am passionate about the life and art of Beauford Delaney.

Beauford was an African-American man, an artist, and an expatriate. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1901, he moved to Paris in 1953 after spending several years of his adult life in Boston and New York City. He died in Paris in 1979, leaving a legacy of brilliant portraits and abstract expressionist works for the world to enjoy.

As president of the French not-for-profit association called Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, I regularly write a blog to increase public awareness of Beauford’s legacy. I am pleased to announce that one of his works is on display at the Pompidou Center in Paris. It was donated to the museum by Solange and Jacques du Closel, who were devoted patrons of Beauford’s art.

Centre Pompidou © Discover Paris!

Centre Pompidou
© Discover Paris!

This magnificent abstract is part of an exposition entitled Multiple Modernities 1905-1970 (also called Plural Modalities). It hangs in a short corridor (Traverse G) between Rooms 31 and 34 on the 5th floor of the museum.

Because the painting is displayed in a corridor, rather than a room, it can be difficult to find. When I went to see it, one of the attendants was kind enough to walk me to the exact location of the painting.

Monique and Beauford's Untitled (1957) Oil on canvas © Discover Paris! © Estate of Beauford Delaney by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

Monique and Beauford’s Untitled (1957) Oil on canvas
© Discover Paris!
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The label next to the painting presents the following information in English (translated from French):

African-American artist Pierre [sic] Beauford-Delaney studied in Boston then at the Art Student League in New York, with John Sloan. He joined the Harlem Renaissance movement, which was struggling for African-American emancipation, and started painting live portraits of jazz musicians playing in Harlem jazz clubs. He had settled in Paris by 1953, when he had gravitated toward abstract expressionism. In this work, the distinguishable blue figure in the thick swirl of predominantly red and yellow paint could be an animal.

The biographical information is scant and not quite accurate (Beauford began his New York career by painting dancers and society women at Billy Pierce’s Dancing School, not by painting jazz musicians). Also, for reasons unknown, the Pompidou Center has listed his name as Pierre Beauford-Delaney in the English version of the label, rather than simply Beauford Delaney.

All that aside, the work is superb – it is well worth a trip to the museum to see it! The painting is on display through January 26, 2015.

Centre Georges Pompidou
19 Rue Beaubourg
75004 Paris
Telephone: 01 44 78 12 33
Metro: Rambuteau, Hôtel de Ville, and Châtelet
Open every day except Tuesdays and May 1.
Hours: 11am-10pm. No tickets sold after 8pm.

Monique Y.Wells
Monique Y. Wells is the co-founder of Discover Paris! and the creator of Entrée to Black Paris tours.

Tom Reeves
Discover Paris

Black Images in European Art

Black Images in European Art

Europeans have portrayed Africans and persons of African descent in their art since ancient times. Their depictions range from crude and stereotypical to sensitive and respectful, depending on the era during which the works were created, the circumstances that prevailed at the time the artist created each work, and the personal opinions of the artist regarding black people and their place in the world. Images of blacks in paintings and sculpture may be found in many of Paris’s finest museums if one only takes the time to look for them.

At the Louvre, the number of paintings that portray blacks is remarkable. Over 20 of them can be discovered during the Black Images in European Art tour organized by Discover Paris, beginning with depictions of the three wise men in numerous paintings called The Adoration of the Magi. It is fascinating to view the different ways in which the black King is portrayed from one painting to another. He often occupies a prominent position, and his coloring and facial features vary.

Adoration of the Magi - Peter Paul Rubens - Wikipedia public domain

Adoration of the Magi
Peter Paul Rubens
1626-1627 Oil on canvas
Public Domain Wikipedia

Black men and women are frequently portrayed in scenes depicting or evoking Ancient Greece and “The Orient,” the latter of which for the French means North Africa and Egypt, as opposed to the Far East. Eugene Delacroix’s Death of Sardanapalus and Women of Algiers in their Apartment are but two examples.

The most extraordinary portrayal of a black woman in a painting at the Louvre is Portrait of a Black Woman (Negress) by Marie-Guillemine Benoist. A portrait of a servant brought to France by the artist’s brother-in-law, it was exhibited at the Salon of 1800. It captures quiet dignity and perhaps even sadness, in the face of the subject.

Across the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay is home to many magnificent works that portray blacks. My two favorites are L’Afrique by Eugène Delaplanche, a cast-iron sculpture that sits on the esplanade outside the museum, and Le Nègre de Soudan by Charles Cordier, a marble and onyx bust that sits in the nave on the ground floor inside the museum.

The woman that Delaplanche created to represent Mother Africa is nothing less than regal. Tall and proud she sits, and her gaze is steady and piercing. She was once gilded—we can only imagine the added splendor that this would have given to the sculpture!

Charles Cordier created Le Nègre de Soudan (and the accompanying bust of a female figure called La Capresse) at a time when Europeans had a keen interest in ethnology, the study of the division of mankind into races, origins, and characteristics. Cordier wanted to contribute to ethnology through his art. He was the only 19th century French sculptor to devote time and talent to representing human diversity. None of his works, including Le Nègre de Soudan and La Capresse, reveal a trace of caricature.

Monique Y. Wells

Tom Reeves
Discover Paris

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