It seems increasingly unlikely that the great Peter Beard, legendary photographer, swashbuckler and style icon, will ever return from his latest excursion. If he does not, the world of art and American culture in general will have suffered a great loss.
As it happens, German luxury publisher Taschen has a new edition of Beard's sold out two-volume monograph, combined into one volume in an XL format, due out in June and now available for pre-order on Amazon.
The book is focused on Beard's legendary diaries, which he embellished and decorated over the course of many years, as he collaborated with the likes of Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol, toured with Truman Capote and the Rolling Stones, and discovered African supermodel Iman, among others.
A good friend of Jackie Kennedy, Salvador Dali, and David Bowie, to name a few, Beard was once married to Cheryl Tiegs, often described as the first American supermodel, and split his time between New York, Montauk, and his ranch in Kenya.
"Beard uses his photographs as a canvas onto which he superimposes multi-layered contact sheets, ephemera, found objects, and newspaper clippings that are elaborately embellished with meticulous handwriting, old-master inspired drawings, and often swaths of animal blood used as paint," Taschen notes of his multidimensional work.
Born into the American aristocracy, with railroad money on one side of his family and a tobacco inheritance on the other, Beard's style has always been ruggedly elegant and individualistic. One of his grandfathers is said to have invented the tuxedo.
Beard's photographs now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction and in galleries, and if indeed he has gone on permanent walkabout they will only increase in value. We hope we have not seen the last of him, however, not least because we plan to have him autograph our copy of this amazing book.