Saturday, October 18, 2014

Beauford's "Citation in Context"

Installation artist Aprille Best Glover sent me an e-mail a few days ago. I quote from her message below:

First thank you for all your content. I have been doing huge amount of research about Paris and I keep bumping into your site (Entrée to Black Paris). If it wouldn’t be too inconvenient, could I ask you for some assistance concerning Beauford Delaney?

What I am working on now is a very large map of Paris (3 meters by 2 meters) built of quotes in the shape of city blocks. The particularity of this map is that each quote is placed over a location that I can trace directly to the person quoted (their home, historical happening, workplace or atelier, for example). I have located what I think are most of the obvious African-Americans in Paris (James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, Miles Davis, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Nina Simone, Richard Wright, Angela Davis, Victor Séjour, etc.), hence my stumbling over your site multiple times.

I was wondering if you might be able to give me a direct quote of Beauford Delaney and any addresses inside Paris that are directly connected with his life...

Aprille calls her project "108 Quotes 108 Days 108 Citation 108 Joys." She shared the URL for the Web site in her message: Le Grand Livre de Paris.

I happily prepared a response containing a quote from Beauford, the most important of the addresses where he lived in Paris, and the URL for the Les Amis blog. Before sending it, I visited her Web site and saw that the first person quoted on the site is James Baldwin.

When I sent my reply, I asked Aprille whether she was aware of the deep connection between Baldwin and Beauford. She was not. She sent a return message asking me whether I had written anything about Beauford and volunteered to place a link to an article that speaks of the connection between him and Beauford. She has done just that. At the end of the English text about Baldwin (there is a French translation of it on the page as well), she emphasizes that articles that treat the subject of Baldwin's and Beauford's relationship highlights how personal connection matters.

Aprille's project is not yet finished and the section of the map that contains Beauford's quote is not yet on line. She has graciously allowed me to publish it here (click on the image to enlarge it):

Citations in Context (detail)
© Aprille Best Glover

The quotation that I supplied (from Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney) is as follows:

Time became different--not just an hour by the clock but a mysterious aliveness from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, touching everything and everyone. This began to be Paris for me...

Aprille has placed it in the section of the map where Saint Anne's Hospital is located in the 14th arrondissement.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Swann Auction Galleries October 9 African American Fine Art Auction - Results for Beauford's Works

On October 9th at 2:30 PM, Swann Auction Galleries held an African American Fine Art that featured works from the collection of Richard A. Long (1927-2013). Richard was Atticus Haygood Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Emeritus, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia for many years. He was a dear friend of Beauford.

Of the seven Beauford Delaney paintings that were put up for sale at the event, four were purchased.

The yellow, untitled abstract (Lot 13) fetched the most handsome price - $75,000, including buyer's premium*. Beauford painted this in 1964, which was an exceptionally productive year that culminated in his one-man show at the Galerie Lambert in Paris.

Untitled (Abstraction)
(1964) Oil on linen canvas
406x336 mm; 16x13 1/4 inches
Signed, dated and inscribed "Paris" in oil, verso
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Beauford's portrait of Richard (Lot 14) sold for $10,000, including buyer's premium. It was exhibited at the Beauford Delaney retrospective that Richard organized at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1978.

Portrait of Richard A. Long
(1965) Color pastels on cream wove paper
660x508 mm; 26x20 inches
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

(Beauford also painted an oil portrait of Richard that is currently on display at the High Museum in Atlanta.)

Kitchen (Lot 17) sold for $5,500, including buyer's premium.

Kitchen
(1970) Watercolor and pencil on cream wove paper
548x450 mm; 21 5/8x17 3/4 inches
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Lot 16, an untitled landscape, sold for $5,250, including buyer's premium. Richard acquired this painting directly from Beauford, who may have painted it during a prolonged trip to the south of France with Bernard Hassell.

Untitled (Landscape)
(1968) Oil monotype on cream wove paper,
laid down to illustration board
548x450 mm; 21 5/8x17 3/4 inches
Signed and dated in ball point pen and blue ink, lower right
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

To see the results for all seven paintings, click here.

For more information, contact Alaina McEachin at .

*At auction, there are two prices--the hammer price, or the price at which the item sells during the auction, and the price with the buyer's premium. All auction houses have a buyer's premium that the buyer pays to the auction house on top of the hammer price. Swann's premium is 20%. Swann Auction Galleries now reports the "hammer price" and the price that include the buyer's premium in its online catalog.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Clarke Auction Gallery - Past Sales of Beauford's Art


Clarke Auction Gallery sold two Beauford Delaney works in 2007 and 2008, as illustrated below.

Street Scene
(1950) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Charcoal of a Black Woman (1929)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Ronan (Ron) Clarke, owner of the gallery, immigrated to the United States from Ireland twenty-six years ago. He settled in Harlem and married an African-American woman. He was introduced to African-American art at that time and has amassed a considerable collection of these works. He sells a lot of African-American art at his gallery.

Clarke operated a flea market in Manhattan "twenty some odd years" ago and developed a strong network of contacts that continues to bring him interesting pieces, but he has not had the good fortune to come across much of Beauford's work. He told me that he felt fortunate to have found both paintings and said that they were "estate fresh":

Street Scene was found on the Grand Concourse. Where it originated, no one knows.

Charcoal of a Black Woman (Flapper girl) came from an African-American woman in the Bronx as well.

Information about the sales can be found on the ClarkeNY.com Web site:

Street Scene

Charcoal of a Black Woman

Street Scene, an oil painting measuring 47" x 36", fetched the highest price of which I am aware for Beauford's work: $176,250.00.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beauford the Mentor

I'm happy to welcome E. L. Kornegay, Jr., Ph.D., M.Div. and founder of the Baldwin~Delaney Institute for Academic Enrichment and Faith Flourishing back to the pages of the Les Amis blog! Today, E. L. shares his thoughts about Beauford as mentor.

As violence becomes more of what connects us one to another across the world, what about Beauford might help us to quell the rage fueling the aggression and brutality? Everyday acts, stories, and sounds paint graphic pictures of violence that are completely antithetical to Beauford’s artistic eye.

Happily, this artistic eye – the cultivation and articulation captured in Beauford’s style – is something transferable. Through it, Beauford is able to mentor us to find a way to channel the rage that produces the violence.

Detail of Self-Portrait
(1944) Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago
Photo courtesy of Tim Paulson
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

As mentor, Beauford showed a young James Baldwin how to create literary art out of his rage. Yes, Baldwin expressed anger through his writing. However, his vivid style and his message always lent themselves to creating a new world: a world in which love would reign supreme. Beauford gave Baldwin a way not to succumb to the fear of a world that wanted him dead or to drive him to insanity, a way to find instead a more peaceable and transformative path.

Photo portraits of James Baldwin (1955) and Beauford (1953)
Carl Van Vechten
Collage by Discover Paris!

The serenity in Beauford’s paintings has the capacity to mentor us into a peaceable existence. Just look at his work and see where it takes you. The peaceable feeling derived from the colors and figures mentor us into a new way of thinking about ourselves and the world around us.

Still Life with Pears
(1946) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Abstract in Orange and Red
(1963) Gouache on wove paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
(1961) Watercolor on paper
© Christie's Images
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

We need to lift up those who are the real mentors: the ones who are able to look into the darkness and see the light. Let us not merely admire the art or ponder over the man, but embrace the meaning of how the two come together to mentor us.