Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and Reid Hall are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016!

To sign-up to receive information about this show, click HERE.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Beauford in Philadelphia: The 1947 Pyramid Club Show


In May, I wrote about my visit to Dr. William A. Dodd's office in Philadelphia and the rich collection of Beauford Delaney memorabilia that he has amassed.

Among them are documents and photos from Beauford's 1947 show at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia.

Catalog of the 7th Annual
Pyramid Club Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture - Cover
© Discover Paris!

Dr. Dodd connected me to Leslie Willis-Lowry, archivist of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University Libraries so that I could ask permission to publish the incredibly handsome photos of Beauford and others at the show. I am pleased to present them below:

Dox Thrash (left) and Beauford Delaney (right)
John W. Mosley, photographer
Photo reproduced with permission of the
Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

From left to right:
Unidentified woman, Henry B. Jones, unidentified woman,
Beauford Delaney, Dox Thrash, Dorothy Warrick, Dante Pavone
John W. Mosley, photographer
Photo reproduced with permission of the
Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

Dox Thrash (second from left) and Beauford Delaney (far right)
with visitors
John W. Mosley, photographer
Photo reproduced with permission of the
Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

Beauford's Sleeping Cat on the wall in the dining room
John W. Mosley, photographer
Photo reproduced with permission of the
Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

Dox Thrash (right) discusses a Beauford Delaney painting
with visitors
John W. Mosley, photographer
Photo reproduced with permission of the
Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

For more information about the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, contact Ms. Willis-Lowry at 215-204-5379.

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Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and Reid Hall are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016! To sign-up to receive information about this show, click HERE.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Beauford's Jazz Club Featured in "Night Vision" Exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Beauford's untitled painting known as Jazz Club has an impressive exhibition and publication history:

Untitled (Jazz Club)
(c.1950) Oil on canvas
28" x 36"
signed lower left: Beauford Delaney
Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It appears (in black and white) on page 104 of David Leeming's biography of Beauford called Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney.

Ann E. Gibson refers to it as she discusses Beauford's use of color when representing people in paintings from his "New York years" in her essay entitled “Gay and Black in Greenwich Village: Beauford Delaney’s Idylls of Integration.” This was published in the catalog for the Beauford Delaney: From New York to Paris exhibition mounted by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Jazz Club is included as a color figure (Figure 24) on page 24 of the catalog.

The Michael Rosenfeld Gallery exhibited the painting in the RISING UP / UPRISING: Twentieth Century African American Art in New York in the spring of 2014.

And now, Jazz Club (on loan from the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery) is one of the paintings selected for display in the Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art, 1860-1960 exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art*:

This is the first major museum survey dedicated to scenes of the night in American art from 1860 to 1960 — an era not yet illuminated by electricity to the beginning of the Space Age. Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art brings together 90 works in a range of media—including paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs...
-- Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Jazz Club is presented in the Night Visions catalog as Plate 73 on page 127. It comprises the entire back cover of the catalog as well.

This work is mentioned in the press about the exhibition:

  • Bowdoin's own story about the show was picked up by ARTFIX daily.
  • Bangor Daily News' Caf√© des Artistes article leads with a large image of the painting.
  • And Art and Antiques Magazine mentions it and a second painting by Beauford (another untitled work from Beauford's New York years (1944), known as Night Scene) in its write up about the show.

Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art, 1860-1960 runs through October 18, 2015. For more information about the exhibition, click HERE.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art
9400 College Station
Brunswick ME, 04011
Telephone: 207-725-3275

*The Bowdoin College Museum of Art holds a Beauford Delaney abstract that is not currently on display.

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Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and Reid Hall are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016! To sign-up to receive information about this show, click HERE.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Beauford's Paris: The American Center

During his Paris years, Beauford spent a fair amount of time at the American Center for Students and Artists in Montparnasse.

Known simply as "The American Center," it was founded as an educational/athletic community center in 1931. Its original home was a neoclassical building designed by Welles Bosworth, shown below.

American Center for Students and Artists

During the first thirty odd years of its existence, the Center offered popular language, music, and theater courses and was a frequent meeting place for Americans and French alike. In the 1960s and 1970s, it evolved into an incubator for avant-garde expression.

In one of the essays in the catalog for the Beauford Delaney: From New York to Paris exposition organized by Sue Canterbury at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. describes the ambiance at the Center in 1971 and tells how he was introduced to Beauford by a friend that he met there:

...I discovered that many young black expatriates...congregated at the American Centre, which had provided a space for jazz musicians to jam.

...It was heavenly; so much peace, so much healing, for one who had been so far away from home, and for so very long.

...Inevitably, a friendship or two kindled. And my new friend, an exuberantly open saxophonist, invited me - dragged me - to meet someone he called "Buford."

Two Les Amis blog posts include information about the American Center.

In an homage to Beauford by artist Douglas Petrovic, Douglas recounts the following story:

After an evening of jazz at the American Center, boulevard Raspail, I invited Beauford and several musicians to have a drink at my place. At around 6:30 AM, the musicians and Beauford decided to wake Paris up with a jazz concert. The balcony was long but not wide and they lined up, a trumpetist, a cornet player, Beauford in the middle, a guitarist, and a drummer who played the iron railing of the balcony with [pieces of] wood. That was the first time that I heard Beauford sing with a voice so sweet and admirable that you could only imagine it coming from children singing in Baptist choirs in New Orleans. All the windows of the neighboring buildings opened and everybody applauded despite having been awakened too early. The concert lasted a half-hour or more.

--Douglas de Petrovic

Contributor Colin Gravois tells us that the Mille Colonnes restaurant (where Beauford's commemorative plaque was recently installed) was favored by patrons of the Center:

The restaurant was only a five-minute walk from the American Center on boulevard Raspail, where many of us congregated in the afternoon or early evening, and many of the Center’s denizens eventually found themselves there sometime between 6 and 10 PM nightly.

The American Center remained at the Bosworth building until 1987. The building was demolished to make way for the Fondation Cartier for contemporary art, which moved into a new structure designed by Jean Nouvel in 1994.

For a complete history of the American Center, click HERE.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Beauford Delaney Works Sold at Case Antiques Auctions


A couple of weeks ago, I reported on the auctioning of three Beauford Delaney works by Case Antiques Auctions & Appraisals of Knoxville, Tennessee on July 18, 2015. One of them - the 1971 landscape watercolor on paper - was sold.

Untitled
Watercolor on paper
Signed and dated lower left in red ink, "Beauford Delaney 1971"
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The low estimate set for this painting was $2,500.00 and the high estimate was $3,500.00. It sold for $3,186.00*.

The other two paintings from the July auction remain unsold.

Case Antiques sold two Beauford Delaney works at auction in January 2015.

One was a portrait of Beauford's mother, Delia, which Beauford executed from memory in 1964. (Delia Delaney died in 1958.) It was shown in the Studio Museum in Harlem retrospective of Beauford's work in 1978.

Portrait of Delia Delaney
(1964) Oil on canvas
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This painting sold for $48,380.00*, an amount that far exceeded the high estimate of $14,000.00.

The other was an untitled abstract of a human face. Remarkably, Beauford's paint cloth and paint stick - both of which have paint residue similar to the paints used for this abstract - were offered for sale with the work.

Untitled (Abstract of Face)
Oil on fabric pillowcase
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

From the Case Antiques Web site:

Beauford Delaney's departure from New York to Paris in 1953 also marked the transition from figurative compositions to abstract expressionism with a focus on color and light. Strapped with financial challenges in his early Paris years, he was believed to have painted on other found objects if canvas was not available. An example of one of his earliest known dated abstracts is an untitled oil on a raincoat fragment from 1954. This work serves as the cover for Sue Canterbury's book, "Beauford Delaney: From New York to Paris", Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2004. Sue Canterbury, Associate Curator of the Dallas Museum of Art, and Stephen Wicks, Curator of the Knoxville Museum of Art, were able to inspect this work when Ms. Canterbury gave her September 2014 lecture on Beauford Delaney in Knoxville. This Beauford Delaney abstract is only the second documented example of his work using canvas available from household objects.

The "pillowcase" abstract, along with the paint cloth and paint stick, sold for $24,180*. The high estimate for this painting was set at $7,000.00.

To see images of the details of the works shown above, click on the hyperlink in the caption of each image.

For more information about the Beauford Delaney paintings (sold and unsold) at Case Antiques, contact:

Sarah Campbell Drury
Vice President of Decorative Arts
Case Antiques, Inc.
Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA)
Telephone: 615-812-6096


*The prices indicated include an 18% buyer's premium. In auctions, the buyer's premium is a percentage additional charge on the hammer price (winning bid at auction) of the purchased item that must be paid by the winner. It is charged by the auctioneer to cover administrative expenses. The buyer's premium goes directly to the auction house and not to the seller.