The Studio Museum in Harlem presented the first retrospective exposition of Beauford's work in 1978.
The exhibit was mounted with the financial support of the Exxon Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts and was open to the public from April 9 through July 2. It was the first of the museum's Black Masters series - major retrospectives organized with the intent to recognize the work of master African-American painters whose talent and achievements risked being ignored or forgotten. Hale Woodruff and Charles White were the second and third artists, respectively, whose works were featured in this series.
Richard A. Long, who has provided written (Richard A. Long and Beauford Delaney) and video (Richard A. Long Talks about Beauford - Part 1) tributes to Beauford for this blog, conceived of the exposition and organized the show. He was responsible for gathering Beauford's paintings in Paris and having them shipped to the U.S. for the exhibition. Over 60 paintings were shown and most of these were from Beauford's Paris years. Long presents the story of how he came to be the curator of the Studio Museum exposition in Part 2 of his video tribute to Beauford.
The photo on the cover of the catalog was taken by Ahmed Bioud, one of the seven members of the tutelle (trusteeship) that was created by the French government to take care of Beauford's affairs while he was institutionalized at Sainte Anne's Hospital in Paris. One of the portraits that Beauford painted of Bioud was among the works shown in the exhibit.
The catalog features a foreword by Mary Schmidt Campbell, then executive director of the museum; an introduction by Richard A. Long; the chapbook text "The Amazing and Invariable Beauford Delaney" by Henry Miller; and tributes by James Baldwin and Beauford's brother, Joseph. Representations of the works exposed are reproduced in color and black & white. A chronology of Beauford's life and a brief bibliography of publications that mention or feature him are also included.
The Levis Fine Arts Gallery holds three of the paintings shown in the Studio Museum in Harlem exhibition. Click here to view them.