Peter Beard

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Peter Beard
Peter Beard at Hog Ranch in 2014 feeding giraffes
Born (1938-01-22) January 22, 1938 (age 81)
New York, United States
Spouse(s)Minnie Cushing Beard Coleman (m. 1962–?)
Cheryl Tiegs (m. 1982–1986)
Nejma Khanum (m. 1986)

Peter Hill Beard is an American artist, photographer, diarist and writer who lives and works in New York City and Kenya. His photographs of Africa, African animals and the journals that often integrate his photographs have been widely shown and published since the 1960s.

Early life and education[edit]

Peter Beard was born in 1938 as a New York aristocrat, heir to a railroad fortune on his mother’s side of the family and a tobacco inheritance on his father’s.[1] He was raised in New York City, Alabama, and Islip, Long Island, Beard began keeping diaries as a young boy and making photographs, as an extension of the diaries, at the age of 12.[2] A graduate of Pomfret School, he entered Yale University in 1957, with the intention of pursuing pre-med studies, only to switch his major to art history. His mentors at Yale included Josef Albers, Richard Lindner and Vincent Scully.

Inspired by earlier trips to Africa in both 1955 and 1960, Beard traveled to Kenya upon graduation. Working at Tsavo National Park, he photographed and documented the demise of 35,000 elephants and other wildlife, later to become the subject of his first book, “The End of the Game.”[3] During this time, Beard acquired Hog Ranch, a property near the Ngong Hills adjacent to the coffee farm owned by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), which would become his lifelong home-base in East Africa.[4]


Peter Beard’s photographs of Africa, African animals and journals that often integrate his photographs have been widely shown and published since the 1970s. Each of his works is unique, a combination of his photography with elements derived from his daily diary-keeping, a practice he continues to this day. These volumes contain newspaper clippings, dried leaves, insects, old sepia-toned photos, transcribed telephone messages, marginalia in India ink, photographs of women, quotes, found objects, and the like; these become incorporated, with original drawings and collage by Beard. Certain of his works incorporate animal blood, sometimes Beard’s own blood (in sparing quantities), a painting medium the artist favors.[5]

Beard’s first exhibition was at the Blum Helman Gallery, New York, in 1975. Landmark museum exhibitions have been held at the International Center of Photography, New York, in 1977, and the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, in 1997. Gallery exhibitions followed in Berlin, London, Toronto, Madrid, Milan, Tokyo and Vienna. Beard’s work is included in private collections throughout the world.[6]

In 2017, Beard was sued by actor David Spade who purchased one of his works. Spade tried to resell a Peter Beard photograph that he had purchased from dealer Peter Tunney but the unsigned work could not be authenticated.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Descended from distinguished American families on both sides, Beard is one of three sons born to Roseanne Hoar Beard and Anson McCook Beard, Jr. A great-grandfather, James Jerome Hill, was founder of the Great Northern Railway in the United States in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Having made his fortune in the railroad business, James Jerome Hill was a great patron of the arts. All of his heirs were exposed to and owned great collections, presumably having a strong influence on Beard’s interests in the arts and beauty.

Beard married his first wife (Minnie Cushing Beard Coleman) in 1962; their marriage lasted only briefly. His second wife was supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, from 1982 to 1986.

In 1986, he married Nejma Khanum. The couple has a daughter, Zara, for whom his book, Zara’s Tales,[8] was written.

In 1996, he was badly injured by an elephant but survived.[9]

Beard has befriended and in some cases collaborated with many legendary artists including Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Francis Bacon, Karen Blixen, Truman Capote, Richard Lindner, and Salvador Dalí. He has also photographed many well-known people.[10]


Year Film Featured Director Producer Editor Other
2017 That Summer Yes No Yes No No
2009 The Making of the 2009 Pirelli Calendar Yes No No No No
1994 Montauk Diaries Yes No No No No
1988 Last Word from Paradise: With Peter Beard in Africa Yes No No No No
1980 Japanese Long Line Tuna Fishing No No No No Introducer
1979 Africa: The End of the Game Yes No No No No
1976 The Bicentennial Big Foot Blues No Yes Yes No No
1975-76 Longing for Darkness No No Yes Yes No
1972 Sisters (working title) Yes Yes Yes No Initiated
1963 Hallelujah the Hills Yes No No No No

Selected books[edit]

  • Beard, Peter; Paul Theroux. 50th Anniversary Edition of The End of the Game. Taschen.
  • Beard, Peter; Beard, Nejma; Edwards, Owen; Aronson, Steven M.L. (2008). Peter Beard (Collector’s Edition). Germany: Taschen, 2006. (Art Edition) Germany: Taschen, 2007. (Trade Edition) Germany: Taschen, 2008 and 2013. ISBN 978-3-8365-3088-0
  • Beard, Peter (1965). The End of the Game. New York: Viking Press. Reprinted New York: Doubleday, 1977. Japan: Camera Manichi, 1978. Germany: Taschen, 2008. ISBN 978-3-8365-0530-7
  • Beard, Peter (2004). Zara's Tales: Perilous Escapades in Equatorial Africa. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-679-42659-0
  • Beard, Peter; and Gatura, Kamante (1975). Longing for Darkness: Kamante's Tales from Out of Africa. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-153080-7
  • Graham, Alistair, and Beard, Peter (1973). Eyelids of Morning: The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society. ISBN 0-8212-0464-5


  • Beard, Peter (1999). Peter Beard: Fifty Years of Portraits. Santa Fe, NM: Arena Editions. ISBN 1-892041-15-4
  • Beard, Peter (1999). Peter Beard: Stress & Density. Vienna: KunstHausWien, Museums Betriebs Gesellschaft, mbH. ISBN 978-3901247071
  • Beard, Peter (1998). Beyond the End of the World. Milan: Universe Publishing (a division of Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.). ISBN 978-0-7893-0147-5
  • Beard, Peter (1997). Oltre la fine del Mondo. Milan: Grafiche Milani.
  • Beard, Peter, and Caujolle, Christian (1996). Peter Beard: Photo Poche #67. Paris: Centre National de la Photographie, ISBN 2867541034
  • Beard, Peter (1993). Diary: From a Dead Man’s Wallet: Confessions of a Bookmaker. Japan: Libroport Publishing Co., Ltd. ISBN 978-4-8457-0791-1

Further reading[edit]


  • Sotomayor, Karolina (Jun 20, 2016). "'Peter Beard: Last Word From Paradise' at Guild Hall Museum". Musee Magazine.[11]
  • Haden-Guest, Anthony (Jun 20, 2016). "Peter Beard Gives Us a Clear View of Paradise". ArtNet News.[12]
  • Weinreich, Regina (Sep 05, 2016)."Peter Beard: Last Word from Paradise at Guild Hall: Out of Africa" Huffington Post.[13]
  • Landes, Jennifer (Jun 16, 2016). "Rare Peter Beard Show Opens". The East Hampton Star.[14]
  • Wallace, Chris (Jun 13, 2016). "Peter Beard". Interview Magazine.[15]
  • After Nyne: The Art Lover's Magazine (Apr 11, 2009). "Peter Beard: Last Word From Paradise at Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton.” [16]
  • Cornet, Philippe (Aug 12, 2009). "Peter Beard et les annees 2000.” Weekend Le Vif L'Express (Belgium).
  • (Fall/Winter 2008/09). "A Stunning Journey into the World of Peter Beard", Taschen Catalogue.
  • Kulturzeit Website (Nov 12, 2008). Buchvorstellung in Kurze: Peter Beard: Art und Collector's Edition.
  • (Jul 27, 2008) "Libro Peter Beard: Una aventrua africana.” Publico (Spain).
  • Genson, Michel (Jul 6, 2008). "La fin d'une Afrique.” Le Republicain (Lorrain).
  • "La Vida es un Juego Salvaje" by Lola Huete Machado, El Pais Semanal (Spain), 1-Jun-2008
  • Dec 11, 2007. Zara's Tales.
  • JH (Apr 2007). "Wild at Heart.” GQ (UK).
  • Rossi, Alfredo (Feb 2007). Il Fotografo:"La fotografia? E la parente povera dell'arte vera." Corriere della Sera (Italy).
  • Aronson, Steven M.L. (2006). "A Conversation: Peter Beard on his personal history and cosmic philosophy." Peter Beard, Tachen.
  • Falck, Jacaranda Caracciolo (Dec 21, 2006). Fotografi artisti: "Africa per sempre." Espresso (Italy).
  • Roberts, Sophy (Dec 2006). “Travelista.” Financial Times: How to Spend It Magazine.
  • Edwards, Owen (Dec 2006). "Beard's Eye View." Smithsonian Magazine.
  • Abrahamsson, Carl (Dec 2006). "Ett Samtal Med Peter Beard: Om nagot, sa ar jap en escapist." Tidningen Kulturen.
  • Gill, AA (Nov 2006). "Wild at Art." The Sunday Times Magazine.
  • Powers, Bill (Oct/Nov 2006). "Where the Wild Things Are." Black Book.
  • Clarke, Brian (Oct 2006). "Wir, Dastier." Vogue Deutsche.
  • Geller, Maurice (Oct 2006). “Quintessentially Legendary." Quintessentially (UK).
  • Aronson, Steven (Jul 2003). "Out of Africa." Architectural Digest.
  • Enright, Robert (Autumn 2002). "The Consummate Fragmentarian." Modern Painters Magazine.
  • Lecorné, Isabelle-Sophie (Mar 2000). "Moi Peter Beard 63 Ans, Photographie, Aventurier, Provocateur." Gala Magazine.
  • Rexer, Lyle (February 2, 1997). "Defenders of a Kingdom Long Swept Aside." New York Times.[17]


  1. ^ "Taming Peter Beard". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  2. ^ Beard, Peter (2013). Peter Beard (Collector's ed.). Germany: Owen, & Aronson. ISBN 978-3-8365-3088-0.
  3. ^ Beard, Peter (1965). The End of the Game. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 978-3-8365-0530-7.
  4. ^ Beard, Peter (2013). Peter Beard (Collector's ed.). Germany: Owen, & Aronson. ISBN 978-3-8365-3088-0.
  5. ^ Enright, Robert (2002). "The Consummate Fragmentarian". Modern Painters Magazine.
  6. ^ Beard, Peter (2013). Peter Beard (Collector's ed.). Germany: Owen, & Aronson. ISBN 978-3-8365-3088-0.
  7. ^ Kinsella, Eileen (February 3, 2017). "Actor David Spade Sues Photographer Peter Beard for Failure to Authenticate a Work". Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  8. ^ Beard, Peter (2004). Zara's Tales: Perilous Escapades in Equatorial Africa. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-679-42659-0.
  9. ^ Alec Baldwin with Peter Beard: The Elephant Attack]
  10. ^ Beard, Peter (2013). Peter Beard (Collector's ed.). Germany: Owen, & Aronson. ISBN 978-3-8365-3088-0.
  11. ^ Sotomayor, Karolina. ""Peter Beard: Last Word From Paradise" at Guild Hall Museum". Musee Magazine.
  12. ^ Haden-Guest, Antony (20 June 2016). "Peter Beard gives us a clear view of Paradise". Artnet news. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  13. ^ Weinreich, Regina (19 June 2016). "Peter Beard: Last Word from Paradise at Guild". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  14. ^ Landes, Jennifer (2016-06-16). "Rare Peter Beard Show Opens". The East Hampton Star.
  15. ^ Wallace, Chris. "Peter Beard". Interview Magazine. Interview Magazine.
  16. ^ "Peter Beard: Last Word From Paradise at Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton". After Nyne. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016.
  17. ^ Rexer, Lyle (2 February 1997). "Defenders of a Kingdom Long Swept Aside". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 14 May 2018.

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