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Behold Beauparlant

Last year Marcus and I made plans to check out an annual neighborhood flea-market in Alamo Square. While wandering the rectangular perimeter of the park, where vendors laid out their wares we encountered a man with tables full of antique pictures and artwork. Many of the pieces displayed were not noteworthy, rather just random pieces of art-school projects, and the collected life’s work of the casual artist. However, filed in a box in plastic comic book sleeves were these pieces of very child-like art that had a naive quality to them. Mostly drawn with pencil on various sheets of scrap paper, some of the pieces were drawn on the blank side of letters, fliers, and even calendars which allowed us to date them (see below). The art dated back into the late 1920s and was attributed to a man named Albert Beauparlant.

The seller told us that the art had been purchased at an estate sale in Chicago. Evidently Beauparlant had a fascination with the military and had dies an old man with a house absolutely filled with military paraphernalia and souvenirs. Among his collection of guns, medals, and helmets were his childhood drawings, which show an amazing eye for detail, with a very crude technique. Needless to say, we both really thought they possessed a special quality to them and snapped up as many as we could. Even though we purchased a majority of the art, looking back I wish we would have purchased the collection as a whole. Since when did being broke hinder the serious art collector?

Anyway, this is my piece of the collection. Behold Beauparlant!

We can see what he wanted for Christmas.

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And his dream business. Make sure to view this next image up close in Flickr. Notice the attention paid to every small detail. Yet it still possesses the technical skill of a child. See what I mean? He even wrote the lettering in the store window backwards!

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Here we see the first of the military themes.

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This is the back of the army officer picture. March 192_?

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While the art looks like that of a 10-year old, this piece shows fairly complex algebraic equations. This could have been an older siblings scrap paper, however throughout this collection we see so many examples of his school work.

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Judging from the sign, I think I’ll look from on this side.

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That’s a nice box for only $7.50.

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Phrenology chart on the back.

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This is one of the best examples of his signature, which also dates this piece to 1929. Check out all the writing on the nose of the plane.

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27 notches? I got 30, you pussy.
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Look closely at the right-hand side of this drawing. It’s a scale showing the size of a large plane.

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Simply awesome.

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Makes you want to be a cop, eh?

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The above piece was drawn on the back of a real estate solicitation letter from 1929. Evidently, while the Beauparlant family was living in Chicago they were being offered new development property on Lake Michigan.We can also see that his father’s first initial was “A.” This might indicate that Albert was a “Jr.”

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In the next 4 close up images, notice the detail given to the diving apparatus. It looks almost fully functional, and probably was based on the technology of the time (or at least the technology shown to a child).

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This is one of my favorite pieces in the collection. Make sure to read all the text.

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The back offers us some parting words of wisdom. “Why turn aside a help that thousands of intelligent mothers have used to bring up fine children?”

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More to come…

Discussion

3 comments for “Behold Beauparlant”

  1. [...] While an intriguing glimpse into another of Beauparlant’s environment, the Magazine Shop drawing offers much more in the way of composition and detail. [...]

    Posted by The Weight Room | September 26, 2007, 12:32 pm
  2. [...] While an intriguing glimpse into another of Beauparlant’s environment, the Magazine Shop drawing offers much more in the way of composition and detail. [...]

    Posted by The Weight Room | September 26, 2007, 12:32 pm
  3. Hard to know where to start… we are both artists, who bought our house in SF from Albert in 1995. Its ironic that now, as we are about to sell the house, we are finally checking him out. Albert bought the house in 1966, apparently having just retired from the Merchant Marines; he reportedly had come from Chicago where (we were told), he had something of a gun museum….which he installed in what is now our living room. This certainly would explain how his artwork ended up in SF, although from what we understand, the gun museum and his late 60′s Ford Mustang (think: “Bullitt” car) were his chief interests. Albert was more than just a little paranoid: the house was filled with evidence of security “peepers” in the interior doors of the house, double bolted interior and closet doors, motion detectors, a two-way mirror and dymo labels on each thing he added to the house (the label noting the date of installation). One police Sgt. we once knew recounted phone calls Albert had made to the local precinct station concerning Hindu women in the house/dancing around his bed. Heresay has it that Albert’s last stand in SF involved his crashing the Mustang (which he had named “Nenette”) into the blocked off part of Wawona St. (near 30th Avenue); Albert had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel…. but when the cops found a 9mm pistol on him, and with his documented history of delusions, he was eventually shipped off to a facility in Connecticut (which is where he was living in 1995).

    Posted by gregg fledderman/lauren davies | January 12, 2011, 8:14 pm
  4. Man I love this guys stuff. In person it never fails to please. I desperately want some…

    Posted by tim h | July 3, 2012, 5:25 pm

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