Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is partnering with the Wells International Foundation (WIF) to take the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition to the U.S.!

We value your support!

(All or part of your gift through WIF may qualify as a charitable deductible in the U.S.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beauford's Untitled (Green) at Quinn's Auction Galleries

Untitled (Green) is up for auction at Quinn's Auction Galleries. The sale is entitled "African American Artists: Featuring the Inventory and Collection of Merton D. Simpson."

Untitled or Green
(1963) Watercolor on paper
26" x 19 1/2"
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This watercolor on paper is signed and dated 1963. To the left of his signature, Beauford dedicated the work to Dr. Ferdière and his family in a note dated 1965.

Untitled or Green - signature
(1963) Watercolor on paper
26" x 19 1/2"
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Beauford's message to the doctor reads:

Pour Dr. Ferdière a sa famille avec boucoup amour pour 1965. [sic]
(Translation: For Dr. Ferdière and his family with much love for 1965.)

Dr. Gaston Ferdière was the physician who treated Beauford at La Maison du Santé de Nogent sur Marne, a psychiatric clinic located in a southeast Paris suburb, beginning in 1961. In Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, biographer David A. Leeming says:

Ferdière spoke English and had a good knowledge of painting and the arts . . .

Eventually, in the course of regular appointments during the years immediately after Beauford's hospitalization, Ferdière and his family also became Beauford's social friends.

The year 1963 was a relatively good one for Beauford in terms of his mental health. With Dr. Ferdière's help, he was able to begin exploring his sexuality more deeply and he was able to open up and discuss it with close friends such as James Baldwin and Howard Swanson.

In 1965, Beauford found it increasingly difficult to follow Dr. Ferdière's orders and began missing scheduled doctor's appointments. Yet he enjoyed visits with several friends that year and made works available for a group show at the American Cultural Center in Paris.

The "African American Artists" auction will take place on February 18, 2017 at 11 AM EST.

For more information, click HERE.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Central Park, 1950

Celeste Hampton recently contacted me about Central Park, the beautiful pastel on paper from Beauford's New York period that is shown below.

Central Park
(1950) Pastel on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

She recognized the work as one that had been given to her many years ago by her friend and mentor, Jordan Massee, and generously shared her story about Massee and the pastel. I have summarized it below.

Jordan Massee was a native of Macon, Georgia. He had a finely-tuned appreciation for all things cultural and he shared this passion with Hampton.

Massee lived in New York City for several years and ran an art gallery on 57th Street for a time. He knew Beauford and appreciated Beauford's art. Hampton says that Beauford gave Central Park to Massee as payment for a debt.

Massee framed the work and eventually gave it to Hampton as a college graduation present in 1987. Hampton proudly hung it in her home.

Some time after Massee's death, Hampton remembered that Massee had told her the pastel could be "worth something" - perhaps one or two thousand dollars. In April 2002, she took it to the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (MRG) in New York City for appraisal, accompanied by a representative of the Harriet Tubman Museum in Macon. The museum considered acquiring the work, but because it is a work on paper as opposed to an oil painting, it was not the "right fit" for their collection.

Michael Rosenfeld provided additional details to this story, stating that the pastel was mounted to a piece of acidic cardboard and was removed from the mount. He purchased it from Hampton when she determined she could not pay for its restoration and would not be able to provide the appropriate care for it in her home.

MRG considered including Central Park in the gallery's exhibition entitled African American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, IX, which traveled to the Tubman Museum and opened on April 29, 2002. Because the work was purchased soon before the exhibition opening, it was not possible to have it conserved and re-framed in time to be included in that show.

In 2003, MRG displayed Central Park in its exhibition titled African American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, X and an image of the work was published in the exhibition catalog.

During the 2003 exhibition, MRG sold the pastel to a private collector.

I asked Hampton if she could share information about Beauford's and Massee's relationship and she consulted her uncle, Bismarck Reine, for details. Reine was a dear friend of Massee and spent a great deal of time with him.

According to Reine, Massee had great respect for Beauford. The two men had "more of an intellectual relationship than anything else." They likely met through an introduction by Paul Bigelow, who was Massee's partner at the time.

Regarding the gift of Central Park to Massee, Reine said the following:
The painting was definitely Beauford's way of repaying Jordan for supplies, paints and more. Delaney never had money for supplies, but he always repaid his debts with work. [I do] not know the nature of the specific debt, but Jordan bought him paints and colored pencil and art supplies more than once. It was not a question of Jordan wanting or needing the money back - in Jordan's eyes the money was a gift.

Hampton and Reine recall that Beauford painted a portrait of Paul Bigelow, but neither of them knows its whereabouts today.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beauford's Distant Horizons at Georgia Museum of Art's Expanding Tradition Exhibition

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens is currently showing nearly 60 works by African-American artists in the exhibition Expanding Tradition: Selections from the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection.

Among them is Beauford's 1952 abstract, Distant Horizons.

Distant Horizons
(1952) Oil on canvas
15.75 X 19.74 in.
Signed and dated at lower left
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This painting was shown in From New York to Paris, the exhibition organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2004-2005 and in the Higher Ground exhibition organized by the Knoxville Museum of Art in 2014.

From the From New York to Paris exhibition catalog, we learn that:

In June of 1953, Carl Leeds won this painting at a raffle: "At some point during the summer, Delaney's friends gathered at a fund-raiser organized by the Roko Gallery to help finance the artist's trip abroad. The donation box appropriately was built in the shape of a boat, with each contributor getting a chance at a lottery. The door prize, like the donation box, was rife with symbolic significance, being Delaney's painting titled Distant Horizons."

Beauford had his final solo show at the Roko Gallery in January 1953 and participated in a group show there in April 1953. In preparation for his trip to Paris, he left many of his paintings at the gallery and left others in his loft at 713 Broadway.

Carl Leeds owned Distant Horizons for 55 years until his passing in 2007. It was subsequently acquired by Robert Abramson of New York and entered the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection when the Thompsons purchased it from Swann Auction Galleries in 2009.

About the style in which Beauford painted Distant Horizons, Patricia Sue Canterbury says that Beauford was
...moving in an increasingly abstract direction where suggestion supplants illustration and the background becomes secondary to the central figures.

Expanding Tradition is the inaugural exhibition for Shawnya Harris, the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art. It is on view from January 28 to May 7, 2017.

Georgia Museum of Art
90 Carlton Street
Athens, GA 30602-1502
Telephone: 706-542-4662
Internet: georgiamuseum.org

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Beauford's Acrylic Still Life on Board Sold at Case Antiques Auction

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an unusual Beauford Delaney abstract that Case Antiques in Knoxville, TN offered at auction:

Abstract Still Life Composition
(1976) Oil on board, acrylic and mixed media
Signed and dated lower left "Beauford Delaney 1976"
13 7/8" H x 19 5/8"
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This acrylic still life sold for a total of $8024 ($6800 bid plus buyer's premium of 26%). The winning bid was $800 above the highest predicted selling price.

The provenance for the painting is listed as "Private South Carolina collection, originally purchased from the Tree Gallery in Chicago, Illinois." It will now enter a different private collection.