Donald Beauregard - 10/1/2016

Donald Beauregard on Rainbow Bridge Expedition, 1909
Photo by Stewart Young,
Courtesy Stan Jones.
With October being Archives Awareness month, now is a good time to look at some of the stories within the museum's fascinating archives collection. As the museum's Archivist, I have the pleasure of learning the back stories to the beautiful artwork in the museum.
Donald Beauregard, Portrait of the Artist, circa 1910,
Oil on canvas, 32 x 20 in.
Gift of the Honorable Frank Springer, 1925.

One of the more tragic stories that dates back to the museum's founding is that of Donald Beauregard, the orginator of the St. Francis murals in the Auditorium. Beauregard was a young man from Utah who went to Paris in 1906 to study art at the prestigious Julian Academy for two years. He first came to New Mexico in 1910 on an archaeological expedition with the University of Utah and School of American Archaeology. It was there that he met Frank Springer. Springer was the principal donor of the private funding that created the art museum. He was so impressed by Beauregard's success he commissioned him to do murals of the life of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the Southwest, for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 in San Diego.
Unfortunately, Beauregard succombed to stomache cancer at the young age of 31, and was only able to complete two of the murals. However, he did finish the overall designs, and Carlos Vierra and Kenneth Chapman completed the murals from his drawings. In addition to his generous monetary donation to he museum, Frank Springer also donated his collection of Beauregard's art.
Renunciation of Santa Clara
Donald Beauregard, Kenneth Chapman, 1917
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Honorable Frank Springer, 1917
The story of Beauregard's brief life is preserved in the letters he sent to the museum's founder, Edgar Lee Hewett. These letters were later used by author Carl Sheppard to write the book The Saint Francis Murals of Santa Fe : The Commission and the Artists published in 1989.

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