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GALLERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS, Robert Freson, Part One

 

Robert Freson's 1963 Photographs of

writers Paul and Jane Bowles, William S. Burroughs and his son "Billy"

and the artist Marguerite McBey in Tangier, Morocco

 

A Short Biography of Photographer Robert Freson

 

Belgian-born Robert Freson began his life in photography in 1949 in New York, where for over thirteen years he worked with the celebrated photographer Irving Penn. Since 1961, Freson has been a freelance photographer. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including Esquire, Look, Marie Claire and Vogue magazines, and the Sunday Times Magazine (London). He has won several awards for his photographs for the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach. Among his notable subjects during his long and distinguished career are portraits and photographs of King Mohammed V (the grandfather of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and the father of the late King Hassan II) and the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, (now succeeded by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud), and numerous celebrities. Freson covered the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, and in 1986, he photographed the marriage of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson. In 1965 he was granted exclusive access to Westminster Abbey in London for a photo essay marking the 900th anniversary of the historic cathedral's construction.

Robert Freson has published several best-selling cook books with brilliant color photographs in The Taste of France (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1983, 1984, 1998; New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003) and Le Gôut de la France (Paris: Éditions Flammarion, 1992, 1996). His images profusely illustrate Patricia Wells at Home in Provence: Recipes Inspired by Her Farmhouse in France (New York: Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1996), Savoring Italy (New York: HarperCollins Publishers / Callaway Arrowsmith Editions, 1992) and Italies Gourmandes (Paris: Casterman, 1994, 1997).

After living in France, where he and his wife Jeannette celebrated fifty years of marriage, Robert Freson is now a citizen of the United States and lives on Bailey Island, Maine. Until 2008, Freson also had a studio on the top floor of Carnegie Hall in New York City. During his exceptional life he has made over 500,000 photographs.

All photographs are Copyright © 1963 by Robert Freson and may not be copied, used, altered or reproduced without his advance written permission.

 

Literary Tangier, 1963  
 
Literary Tangier, 1963, sitting on the terrace of a café located in the upper medina having mint teas: (left to right) unidentified standing, Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs, Christopher Wanklyn, Jane Bowles, Emilio Sanz de Soto, Omar Pound (standing), Joseph A. McPhillips III, and John Hopkins.

(Photograph Copyright © 1963, by Robert Freson; copying, alteration, use and reproduction is strictly prohibited.)

 

 

William Burroughs with his son "Billy"  
 

Beat generation writer William S. Burroughs with his son Billy, who lived six months in Tangier in 1963. William Burroughs was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He first arrived in Tangier in January 1954 and stayed in the medina, renting a small room off the Socco Chico from "Dutch Tony". Burroughs was a regular at the Café Central. In 1955, he moved into a room off the garden in the Villa Muniria (nicknamed Villa Delirium) in the new town, and there Burroughs wrote his famous 1959 novel The Naked Lunch. This work established him as one of the most important writers of the decade. Burroughs attracted to Tangier the Beat writers Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Jack Kerouac, among others. The Beats arrived in Tangier in 1957 and returned in 1961. The Beatniks chose to stay at the Muniria because Burroughs was there.

(Photograph Copyright © 1963, by Robert Freson; copying, use, alteration and reproduction is strictly prohibited).

 

 

Marguerite McBey

Marguerite McBey was an artist and a long-time resident of Tangier, Morocco. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 30, 1905 into the prominent Loeb banking family. In 1930 Marguerite married the talented Scottish-born etcher and artist James McBey (1883-1959). Her husband had painted Lawrence of Arabia in Damascus in 1918, the Cherifa of Wazzan, the 4th Marchioness of Bute, and others. In 1932, James and Marguerite McBey bought an old farmhouse in Tangier. They renovated and expanded the house, naming it El Foolk, and added extensive gardens on the thirty-acre property located on the Old Mountain Road in Sidi Masmoudi. El Foolk commanded spectacular views of the Strait of Gibraltar and coast of Spain from the observatory room in its tower. Marguerite McBey was an accomplished painter primarily known for her watercolors, and during her life many exhibitions of her art works were held worldwide. For over 60 years, Marguerite McBey entertained Jane and Paul Bowles and many others at her estate in Tangier.

Marguerite McBey died in London, England, where she had another home, on October 21, 1999, at age 94. Before her death, she willed money to the American School of Tangier to provide for a new gymnasium and swimming pool complex. Several years earlier, Marguerite McBey had donated her beach house property to the school.

James and Marguerite McBey's former Tangier villa and fourteen acres are now owned by Christopher Gibbs―for many years a prominent London-based antiques dealer. Christopher Gibbs' Tangier friends have included William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and to a lesser extent Paul Bowles. During the mid-to-late 1960s, Gibbs became a close friend of Mick Jagger, the guitarist Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Ron Wood―in fact, with all of the original members of The Rolling Stones rock group, both in England and Tangier. Several books about The Rolling Stones include references and anecdotes of Christopher Gibbs' personal knowledge of the early years of The Rolling Stones and their friends and associates in England and Morocco

(Photograph © 1963, by Robert Freson; copying, use, alteration and reproduction is strictly prohibited)

All photographs are Copyright © 1963 by Robert Freson and may not be copied, used, altered or reproduced without his advance written permission.

Next, Part TwoPart ThreeReturn to Galleries.

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