Monique Wells

Monique Wells

Preserving The Legacy 

Freelance writer Monique Wells is an African American expatriate in Paris who has undertaken the efforts to preserve much of the large body of African American legacy and cultural history in the city of lights.  She is the proprietor of Entrée to Black Paris, and Discover Paris - tours and activities presenting up close and personal experiences in the cultural vibrancy and intellectual delights of life in the French capital.  

A humanitarian and veterinary pathologist by training, Monique is an author of cookbooks and an expert of everything local and current in Paris.   Most importantly, however, she cedes nothing in her efforts to preserve the history and legacy of the cadre of African American artists and intellectuals who made Paris their springboard in the past, as well as to promulgate the present generation of expats and artists, in whatever their art forms or calling.  You can tune in to Monique's radio discussions with chef Amadeus each third Thursday of the month at the following link: The Southern Passion Lounge

In recent years, Monique has set out to correct and to facilitate the forgiveness of history for its near 'blunderous' under-recognition, lack of full appreciation, and accorded treatment in France, of the African American artist and beloved soul, Beauford Delaney.  For those who are not familiar with Beauford Delaney, he is profiled on as one of the great African American artist of the 20th century.  

The legendary painter was buried without much fanfare or due recognition and laid without cause or care for many years until Monique came along and not only spared the exhumation and possible desecration of his remains but she also single handedly created a movement for the recognition and preservation of Beauford's legacy.    

To accurately reflect and contextualize Monique Wells' efforts requires only a quick look at Beauford's life, his work, and his friends.  Beauford's Paris was the Paris of his contemporaries which included Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Chester Himes, Romare Bearden, Herbert Gentry, Ed Clark, Harold Cousins, and many others.  With patrons such as Elizabeth Taylor, Rod Steiger, Richard Burton, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Peter O'toole and others the like, Haynes' Restaurant in Paris became a legendary spot because "Beauford was there" as well.  As a teenager, James Baldwin met Delaney in Greenwich Village, New York.  Beauford immediately became mentor and father figure to Baldwin, who stated the following after Beauford's death: 

"The first living proof, for me, that a black man could be an artist. In a warmer time, a less blasphemous place, he would have been recognized as my Master and I as his Pupil. He became, for me, an example of courage and integrity, humility and passion. An absolute integrity: I saw him shaken many times and I lived to see him broken but I never saw him bow.  Perhaps I should not say, flatly, what I believe – that he is a great painter – among the very greatest; but I do know that great art can only be created out of love, and that no greater lover has ever held a brush."

BD tombstone ceramic close-up of inscription 2 small

Beauford Delaney, therefore, was neither without merit or nor without distinction as an artist.  Much like Alice Walker’s efforts in preserving the dignity in death of Zora Neale Hurston, Monique Wells, on discovering the precarious nature of Beauford's place of burial, secured the funds to preserve his resting place, along with the dedication of a tombstone and an official service, the type of which was denied Beauford at the time of his death. 

Today, among her many other activities, Monique remains the soul behind “Les Amis de Beauford Delaney”, an association dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the legacy of a legend in culture and history of black America.

Follow Monique on twitter @moniqueinparis.   If you are visiting Paris, you may contact Monique at:

5816 Creek Valley Road
Edina, MN 55439-1212
Telephone message center / fax:
(212) 658-9351

Welcome to Ealy Mays Artworks

Celebration of over 150 years of Black Literary and Artistic development in Paris

Here you will find the works of one of the most prolific African American artists. Based in Paris, France, this selection includes current masterpieces as well retrospectives from a body of over 30 years as an ethnic artist painting in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Your choice of paintings, prints, posters, postcards, puzzles, memorabilia, T-shirts, collectibles, accessories,and more, is only a click away. Read more

It is the spectator and not life, that really mirrors art”  The Picture of Dorian Gray …Oscar Wilde

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