James Baldwin's personal effects on display in impromptu hometown retrospective

November 28, 2017

 (version française ci-dessous) 


SAINT-PAUL de VENCE, France- In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the death of their friend and neighbor James Baldwin, residents of Saint Paul de Vence have assembled a captivating collection of the author's personal effects and other memorabilia of his life here for an impromptu retrospective entitled James Baldwin: Saint Paulois.


The exhibit will include his well-used Webster's Unabridged dictionary and the Olympia portable typewriter on which he worked for many years, complete with inky fingerprints. Other personal items on display: several volumes from his library;  articles of his clothing; manuscript drafts of the French translation of Blues for Mister Charlie; a personal note from Baldwin's mother to the people of Saint Paul; and a collection of photographs of the author taken at his villa by the photographer Alain Cinquini.



"James Baldwin is well known as a son of Harlem and as an American in Paris," said Shannon Cain, director of the nonprofit association Les Amis de la Maison Baldwin, which is sponsoring the event. "All of this is very true, yet his 17 years here in Saint-Paul de Vence are often overlooked. Here is where he found peace and refuge, here is where he wrote some of his most important work, and here is where he was very well loved."


For many years after James Baldwin's death, his brother David continued living in Saint Paul de Vence. David was not only a beloved figure in the village but also an accomplished visual artist. Several of his paintings will be featured in the exhibit.