For added than a century, 820 Fifth Avenue has been one of the best approved accommodation barrio in New York City, with one 7,000 sq. ft abode to ceremony floor. In contempo years its best-known occupants were the backward Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, collectors of French appliance and Old Masters, and abundant benefactors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When the artisan and columnist Peter Beard was built-in in 1938—the average of three sons of Anson McCook Beard, a New York Burghal stockbroker, and his wife Roseanne Hoar—his warm-hearted, unstuffy benevolent grandmother Ruth Hill Beard and her additional bedmate Pierre Lorillard V (a fifth-generation tobacco magnate and Peter’s step-grandfather, afterwards whom he was named) lived on one of the favoured aerial floors of “820 Fifth”, with a appearance over Central Esplanade Zoo to the south end of the park.
This advantageous appearance batten of the Golden Age abundance that Beard was built-in to, one of the co-heirs to the affluence larboard by his railroad administrator great-grandfather James Jerome Hill—the art-collecting “Empire builder” who opened up the American Northwest with his railway network, in alliance with JP Morgan and the Vanderbilt family—and was a allegory for the agreeable heights in which Beard confused in Manhattan. He was one of a ample association that migrated as the seasons (and convenience) dictated from the burghal to Continued Island to Tuxedo Park, the gated association in the mountains an hour arctic of Manhattan, congenital by Beard’s footfall great-grandfather Pierre Lorillard IV in 1885-86.
Advantageous view: Central Esplanade South, New York, photographed from the accommodation of Beard’s grandmother Ruth Hill Lorillard and her additional husband, Pierre Lorillard V, in 1938, the year of Beard’s birth, by Pierre’s niece, the artisan Daphne Pollen Daphne Pollen
Such was the agreeable amaze that the free-wheeling, film-star-handsome Beard lived in—feted as a mix of James Dean, Lord Byron and Tarzan; affiliated three times, aboriginal to the socialite Minnie Cushing, and afresh to the supermodel Cheryl Tiegs; accommodating or apparent blind out with Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí; dispatch out with Jackie Kennedy’s sister Lee Radziwill, while partying at Flat 54 with Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Mick Jagger— it is accessible to lose afterimage of what an arresting and sometimes prophetic artisan he was, abnormally with his photographs of the aboriginal 1960s that appear the adverse aftereffect of bottleneck and starvation on the albatross citizenry of East Africa.
Such was the agreeable amaze that the free-wheeling, film-star-handsome Beard lived in … it is accessible to lose afterimage of what an arresting and sometimes prophetic artisan he was
Peter and his brothers Anson inferior and Samuel spent their aboriginal adolescence in Alabama, area their ancestor served in the armed forces, and contrarily grew up in New York, with summers spent on Continued Island, with the blow of the year spent in the arcadian bank dupe at Tuxedo Park. Their grandparents Ruth and Pierre Lorillard lived amid 820 Fifth, a abode on Continued Island (flooded and abounding with bank by the September 1938 blow nicknamed the Continued Island Express), a winter barrier on Jekyll Island, off the bank of Georgia, and Chastellux, a 52-room French alcazar congenital for Ruth in 1929, the better abode at Tuxedo.
Chastellux, Tuxedo Park, the 52-room home of Peter Beard’s grandmother Ruth Hill Lorillard and her bedmate Pierre Lorillard V, 1934 Samuel H Gottscho / Gottscho-Schleisner Accumulating (Library of Congress)
Ruth’s sister Clare Lindley endemic addition abode at Tuxedo, Lindley Hall, and their sister Gertrude Gavin had bizarre her acreage at Graenan, abreast Brookville, Continued Island, by importing a medium-sized French alcazar as able-bodied as the aboriginal 15th-century chapel, from Chasse, abreast Lyon, area Joan of Arc had already admirable (the abbey of St Joan was donated to the Jesuit fathers at Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and confused there in 1966). The Hill sisters (there were eight in all, and two brothers) were adherent Catholics and both Chastellux and Lindley Hall were ultimately ancestral to a Catholic girls’ school.
Bank idyll: the garden advanced of Chastellux, photographed in June 1938 by Beard’s step-cousin Daphne Pollen Daphne Pollen / Private accumulating
At the aboriginal autumn brawl at Tuxedo in 1886, Griswold Lorillard (younger brother of Beard’s step-grandfather) and his Yale accompany had beat tail-less banquet jackets, a appearance best up from the Prince of Wales’s set in London, and the name “tuxedo” stuck. Beard, in an annual with his above administrator Steven HL Aronson in the latest copy of the abstruse aggregate Peter Beard (2020), says: “I acquisition it agreeable to be accompanying to the artisan of academic wear, back I’m so awkward myself.”
It was the absolute association that Jay Gatsby aimed to breach into with his absurd parties. Beard, who was actual acquainted of his Hill ancestry, captivated in acquainted that, “F. Scott Fitzgerald has Gatsby’s ancestor saying, back he learns his son is dead, ‘If he’d of lived he’d of been a abundant man. A man like James J. Hill. He’d of helped body up the country.’ ”
The terrace at Chastellux, 1938, photographed by Beard’s step-cousin Daphne Pollen Daphne Pollen/Private Accumulating
Beard sometimes said he was a “black sheep” to his enactment family, and yet it independent the advisers who set him on a life’s assignment as documentarist and appearance photographer, abiding in his adulation of East Africa and its big fauna, and admired from the 1960s by Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. In 1977, one of Beard’s photographs–of a crocodile–was alleged by the astronomer Carl Sagan and his board to be included on the “Golden Record” that was agitated by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 Nasa amplitude probes, absolute sounds and images from Earth as time capsules for any able civilisation that ability appointment them in interstellar space.
I acquisition it agreeable to be accompanying to the artisan of academic wear, back I’m so awkward myself. Peter Beard
Beard’s affectionate grandmother, a practising lawyer, gave him the Voigtländer camera he started experimenting with while at the Buckley School, New York, and his aboriginal role archetypal was his father’s accessory Jerome Hill (1905-72), painter, photographer, composer, artisan and filmmaker (his Albert Schweitzer won the Academy Award of Best Documentary in 1957). To Beard, he was the “ultimate Renaissance man. He was accompany with everyone, from … Schweitzer and Carl Jung to Brigitte Bardot. He had a abundant art collection, abundant houses, abundant everything”. Jerome Hill created two foundations that abutment arising artists—the Jerome Hill in the US and the Camargo in Cassis, in the south of France.
Jerome’s house, La Batterie, abreast Cassis, became a additional home to the boyish Beard. The comfortable Riviera activity is captured in Beard’s 1959 diptych Accessory Jerome Hill and BB (Brigitte Bardot), area a T-shirted Jerome and a bikinied Bardot sit chatting in brindle sunlight on a low $.25 wall. Beard corrective and drank in the ability of La Batterie. Jerome affected all his pictures. “I was chuffed,” Beard told Aronson, “to be put abutting to Picasso, Braque and Wols”.
The mural that fabricated Beard’s name was far above and wilder than the aerial East Side of New York, or the amethyst hillsides about Cassis. At 17, during his aftermost year at Pomfret College, Connecticut, he took his aboriginal cruise to Africa and spent the summer photographing in South Africa, Madagascar and Kenya. His adviser was the explorer, film-maker and bibliophile Quentin Keynes (1921-2003)—the son of the academic beneficiary Sir Geoffrey Keynes, nephew of the economist John Maynard Keynes, and abundant grandson of Charles Darwin—who the antecedent year had fabricated the aboriginal blur of the Abundant Sable antelope, and who went on to aggregate a alone accumulating of biking books and manuscripts, abnormally those apropos to the Victorian charlatan Sir Richard Burton.
This addition to Africa adapted a arrangement of Beard’s charmed adolescence area ideal, and generally unusual, guides came into his life—Salvador Dalí was afterwards a coach to the boyish Beard and unnervingly insisted that Beard was Dalí’s asleep brother. At Yale, area he majored in art, Beard advised with Joseph Albers, Neil Welliver, Al Katz and the art historian Vincent Scully, and started to shoot pictures for Condé Nast in the backward 1950s while still a student. Afterwards abrogation Yale in 1961, he alternate to Kenya, area he fabricated abounding of the access that led to him authoritative the country his additional home. During that trip, he travelled to Copenhagen to accommodated Karen Blixen, columnist of Out of Africa—the addition was fabricated by Jerome Hill—and he afterwards bought, with presidential absolution from Jomo Kenyatta, Hog Ranch, 45 acreage of wilderness adverse the Ngong Hills, and abutting aperture to Blixen’s old coffee acreage alfresco Nairobi. At Hog Ranch, Beard put up a accumulation of carnival tents and a flat for his books on Africa, which he had bought at bargain from the collections of abandonment settlers.
Peter Beard at Hog Ranch, Kenya, 2014 Peter Beard / CC BY-SA
Beard’s blemish assignment was The End of the Game (1965), a mix of his addictive black-and-white photographs and bull text, documenting the starvation through bottleneck of tens of bags of elephants, rhinos and hippos in Kenya’s Tsavo lowlands and Uganda parklands—in the after-effects of the changes wrought by big-game hunters and settlers in the backward 19th and aboriginal 20th centuries. “The added the white man went into Africa,” Beard writes, ”the faster the activity flowed out of it, off the plains and out of the bush… vanishing in acreage of trophies and hides and carcasses.” Back the 50th ceremony copy of the book was appear in 2015, the biking biographer Paul Theroux acicular out in an addition that Beard’s assignment was an “unambiguous admonishing about bodies and animals application the aforementioned affecting space”.
One who saw the book’s point anon was Francis Bacon. They met at the aperture of Bacon’s new appearance at Marlborough Fine Art, London, in March 1967. Bacon had afresh apprehend The End of the Game, and was confused by the images of decomposing elephants, “their carcasses gradually adapted into affected sculptures, which above simple abstruse forms buck the banner of the vanity and tragedy of life”. Bacon fabricated a alternation of nine portraits and four triptychs of Beard in the 1970s, while Beard attempt a different set of photographs of Bacon at assignment in his flat at Reece Mews in west London (200 of Beard’s photographs were begin afterwards Bacon’s afterlife on the attic of the studio).
Back the 50th ceremony copy of The End of the Game was appear in 2015, the biking biographer Paul Theroux acicular out in an addition that Beard’s assignment was an “unambiguous admonishing about bodies and animals application the aforementioned affecting space”
A 1977 copy of The End of the Game was the break for a battleground appearance at the International Center of Photography in New York, back Beard afraid a behemothic affiche of one of his albatross photographs, four storeys tall, captivated about the building’s facade. In the night afore the show’s opening, the affiche was disconnected by a winter squall, and Beard was pictured the abutting morning, darting about the Fifth Avenue cartage rescuing the fragments. His photograph of the affiche in abode survives.
Beard at the aperture of his appearance at the International Center of Photography, New York City, November 1977 Chuck Fishman/Getty Images
From the 1960s, Beard had become accepted for four types of work. His photography of East African wildlife, aboriginal showcased in The End of the Game, with new images added to its revised editions; appearance photography, some of it showcasing the supermodels of the day—including Veruschka and Iman—in the ambience of African wildlife and landscape; his carefully formed diaries, in a appearance he had developed as an boyish which combines photographs, calligraphy, cartoon and bi-weekly clippings—Warhol alleged them Beard’s “trip books”, Dalí’s animadversion was “Mr ‘Bird’ it’s the quantity”; and his collages, with drawings, bones, stones and added begin altar layered about them as frames—he collaborated with Warhol on a 27-page collage, Addition to the Things of Life. The artists’ branch Beard set up at Hog Factory to breeding Kenyan aptitude produced collages with and for him on an anytime greater scale.
Peter Beard, by Derek Peck, for Nowness Derek Peck/Nowness
Beard’s alliance to Minnie Cushing was brief and in the summer of 1971 he begin himself befuddled calm with Lee Radziwill, the boyish sister of Jackie Kennedy, while blockage with Jackie and her additional bedmate Aristotle Onassis on his island of Skorpios in Greece. Radziwill accompanied Beard and Truman Capote back they were commissioned by Rolling Stone annual to awning the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street bout of the US. In the summer of 1972, Radziwill, who was renting Andy Warhol’s abode at Montauk, Continued Island, started to assignment with Beard on a blur about her summer adolescence in East Hampton nearby, a activity that came to focus on her berserk aberrant aunt Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter, Little Edie, who lived like hermits in their broken-down mansion, Grey Gardens, with 52 bodies and an awkward yard, apartment accumulated aerial with burst appliance and bric a brac, acutely ashore in abode back the Continued Island blow anesthetized through 34 years earlier.
Jackie Onassis abutting the project, bringing her ancestors albums to appearance to her relations, while Beard brought in aboriginal his film-maker acquaintance Jonas Mekas and afterwards Albert and David Maysles (who had fabricated the documentary Gimme Shelter with the Rolling Stones in 1970). The Maysles brothers ultimately fabricated their own documentary, Grey Gardens (1975), which has back acquired band status, breeding a agreeable and a film. But the aboriginal Beard and Radziwill footage survived, and this, with some of Warhol’s annal footage, was angry into That Summer (2017) by the administrator Göran Hugo Olsson, with voiceover from Beard, and the artisan filmed at assignment on one of his collages. “They were in a dreamworld,” Beard says of Big Edie and little Edie, “and it was OK.”
In a dreamworld: That Summer premiered at the Telluride Festival in 2017 IFC Films
In 1988, Beard helped Yolande Clergue, the babysitter wife of the columnist Lucien Clergue to actuate Bacon—who had in 1957 corrective three pictures in accolade to Van Gogh’s Painter on the Road to Tarascon (1888)—to accomplish a new assignment for the countdown exhibition of the Fondation Van Gogh in Arles. Anne Clergue, the babysitter babe of Lucien and Yolande Clerge, has appear a absorbing annual of how Beard pulled calm one of his behemothic collages as his own addition to the aperture of the Fondation: “One summer day, we went to the bank with a few accompany and Peter asked us to baddest altar for the assignment he was activity to do. He would stick shells, algae, driftwood, ropes, artificial bottles, asleep fish, all kinds of debris calm on the bank on the huge atramentous and white photo which represented him, face down, accoutrements advance out. The day we had to accompany the assignment to the Van Gogh Foundation, we had to acquisition a actual advanced cycle of several metres in adjustment to carriage the image, which had developed actual abundant with all the altar that fabricated it.”
In November 1996 Beard was accustomed a absolute attendant in Paris: Carnets Africains at the Centre National de la Photographie. Just two months before, he had about absent his activity while picnicking with accompany in Kenya, back a changeable albatross came at the accumulation “like a bales train”, gored and head-butted him, and almost absent his femoral artery. He almost survived.
Eight weeks afterwards the attack, Beard abounding his Paris retrospective, which included his carefully formed affidavit absolute up to a ample size, the asleep albatross photographs from the 1960s, and images taken for Paris Match in the 1990s of the afire of behemothic pyres of albatross tusks and cornball horns, in Nairobi National Park. He was to be begin circadian at the show, collapsed on a mattress (he was still acquirements to airing again), shod in African sandals, usually in the aggregation of the arch appearance models of the day. He remained into his backward 70s the hard-partying agreeable allurement he had consistently been.
In 1977, Beard’s abode at Montauk, Continued Island, had austere to the ground, antibacterial abounding of his negatives, 20 years of diaries—which he had developed as a collagist assignment from adolescence—all his African books, and works by Richard Lindner, Bacon, Picasso and Warhol: “Christmas and altogether gifts—Mao and the Jap flowers and all those cottony screens”.
In the aboriginal 1990s, Beard spent continued periods in Africa with his third wife, Nejma Khanum, and their babe Zara. She “was consistently flawless”, Beard said of his daughter, and calm the belief he told her in Zara’s Tales from Hog Ranch (2004). At this time, Nejma and Peter Beard set about the assignment of accepting Beard’s bequest and harnessing the acceleration in bazaar ethics of abreast photography. They set up the Peter Beard Flat in 2000, creating an exemplary, advisory website.
In 2006, a large-format blended volume, Peter Beard, was appear in an art copy and collector’s edition. Beard’s collages were reproduced as a accumulation for the aboriginal time at the admeasurement they were meant to be seen. Hundreds of smaller-scale works and affidavit were abstract to appearance the detail of Beard’s autography and drawings, as able-bodied as stones, basic and $.25 of animals pasted to the page. The latest, trilingual, barter copy of the aggregate was appear in May 2020.
Beard was a chargeless spirit, sometimes out of control, generally exasperating, but never dull. For his adolescent columnist David Bailey, he was “a unique, avant-garde man, not apparent back the brand of the 19th-century charlatan Richard Burton”. He had been adversity from dementia and went missing about three weeks afore he was begin asleep abreast his home at Montauk.
• Peter Beard, built-in 22 January 1938, died about 31 March/1 April 2020
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