Francis H. Beaugureau
Francis Henry Beaugureau was born in Chicago on April 5, 1920. Francis began his art career at the Chicago Art Institute at the age of eight and continued his studies there until the mid-1930s. He went on to study at the Frederic Mizen Academy of Art.
In 1938, Francis enlisted in the horse cavalry. After serving in the United States Cavalry and Infantry, Francis joined the Army Air Corp and went on to pilot B-17s as a lead pilot in the Eighth Air Force during WWII. As a Captain in the 305th Bomb Group, he flew more than 30 missions over Europe. During this time, Francis continued to paint, depicting aerial combat scenes.
When MacKinlay Kantor, the American Pulitzer Prize-winning author, first saw the Francis’ paintings in 1946, he said he was so astounded that, “The back of my head hit the concrete and they had to burn feathers under my nose to wake me up.”
Those paintings Kantor saw were not the paintings Francis would come to be best-known for…they were the paintings of the B-17 bombers in action. About those paintings, Kantor went on to write in The Day I met a Lion (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1968), “I do not know how many other pilots have seriously set to work to paint high altitude bombardment warfare, but I have never seen any more attractive and effective delineation of a very complex and terrifying subject than these paintings of Beaugureau’s.”
During the wartime days, his private’s pay began at only $21, so during his off-duty hours, he began doing charcoal drawings of his fellow enlisted men and officers, charging $15 a portrait.
It was one of these drawings that brought his capacities as an artist to the attention of Air Force Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg.
Following his military service, he was appointed by Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg as an art consultant to the Air Force, responsible for painting portraits of commanding generals and depicting the Air Force in Europe and Korea. A few such portraits included: Major Gen. B.E. Moore, Gen. J. McNarney, Gen. Howard Craig, Gen. Rawlings, Lt. Gen. K.B. Wolfe, and Gen. McKenney.
Francis also founded the Air Force Museum and established the continuing Art Program of the Air Force. He moved to Arizona in 1954, making a career as an artist and receiving numerous professional awards at local, regional and national art shows. He won a national Gold Metal, the highest honor of the American Watercolor Society, for The Chestnut Vendor in 1964. As a nationally recognized portrait artist, Beaugureau painted Phoenix natives the likes of “Kax” Herberger, the Maytags, Senator John Rhodes and his wife and many more.
Walter Bimson commissioned Beaugureau to research and paint a series of 12 oil paintings for the Valley National Bank’s permanent collection depicting the Military Operations in Arizona from the Civil War to Statehood. The collection was completed in 1967, and reproduced as lithographs for the Phoenix Art Museum.
Francis was survived by six of seven children when he died on April 2, 2001 at the age of 80. He was buried with a Full Honor Guard Service at the National Military Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.
Daughter of Francis Beaugureau
One of the Blue Coyote Gallery's primary objectives is to acquire biographical information about historically important Arizona artists. Background and biographical information about many of the deceased artists we represent is often very sketchy and limited at best. We are trying to acquire information before people who knew these artists personally are no longer around.
If you knew Francis Beaugureau personally, or knew someone who did, we would be grateful if you could share any biographical information, stories, or anecdotes you may have. Information can be sent via email or postal mail. We would also be glad to arrange interviews either via telephone or in person.
Please contact Gary Fillmore at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are always interested in purchasing or accepting on consignment work by Francis H. Beaugureau. Please contact us with any inquiries.
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6141 E. Cave Creek Rd. Cave Creek Arizona 85331