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!

TO MAKE A DONATION, CLICK HERE.
(All or part of your gift through WIF may qualify as a charitable deductible in the U.S.)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beauford's Art: Reminiscence of the Painting "Portrait of a Young Man (Burton D. Reinfrank)"

I recently had the pleasure of viewing Burt Reinfrank's private collection of Beauford Delaney paintings and was surprised to find this portrait:

Portrait of Burt Reinfrank
(1971) Charcoal on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
© Discover Paris!

hanging next to the color portrait of Burt that I know so well:

Portrait of Burt Reinfrank
(1968) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Photo: © Discover Paris!

Here's the "back story" as told by Burt Reinfrank:

One afternoon in September 1966 I called at Beauford's studio and saw an almost completed portrait on his easel. It was of James Speyer. In the portrait, Speyer wore a yellow turtleneck sweater against a brown background. I passed by the studio a week later and was surprised to see the color of the sweater and that of the background had been reversed. Beauford explained that when Speyer saw the painting, he asked him to reverse the colors.

Portrait of James Speyer
(1966) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I liked the portrait and asked Beauford if he would paint one of me that same size (60 francs). He said yes, if I would bring him the canvas.

In December, I went by an art supply shop in Montparnasse, picked up a canvas, and brought it to Beauford's studio. He immediately put it on his easel, sat me in his "sitters" chair facing the back of the easel, sat down in front, and started drawing in charcoal. He drew for more than an hour, recounting different episodes in his life.

Suddenly he stopped and said, "It's finished. Come have a look."

Photo of Beauford Delaney drawing of Burton Reinfrank
Photo courtesy of Burton Reinfrank

When I saw the drawing, I said: "It's great, keep if for me just as it is. I will bring you another canvas for the painting." But when I came by the studio a week later, the drawing had disappeared under paint.

I said: "Beauford, I wanted the drawing as it was." He replied: "I'll do you another."

He did, a smaller charcoal drawing on canvas in 1971.

Photo of Beauford and Burt Reinfrank
holding his second charcoal portrait
Image courtesy of Burton Reinfrank

At the outset I had told Beauford that what I wanted was a great painting, not necessarily a likeness. Beauford proceeded to paint Portrait of a Young Man (Burton Reinfrank) with no further sitting.

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Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, Reid Hall, and the Wells International Foundation (WIF) are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016! WE VALUE YOUR SUPPORT!

To contribute to the show, click HERE.

To sign-up to receive the latest behind-the-scenes news about the show, click HERE.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

University of Arizona to Augment "Beauford Delaney and Paris" Exhibition

Imagine yourself in the Grande Salle at Reid Hall, Columbia Global Centers | Europe in Paris. You are standing in front of this painting:

Nativity Scene
(1961) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

You hold up your smart phone, point the lens at the painting, and scan it. Within seconds, an overlay appears at the corner of your screen and a 30-second video gives you the "back story" about this work. You are then given the option to click through to a Web site that provides additional information.

This is what the University of Arizona Augmented Reality project will allow attendees of the Beauford Delaney and Paris: A Breathtaking Evolution to experience!

Dr. Bryan Carter, Associate Professor of the University of Arizona's Department of Africana Studies, conceived this project. He specializes in African-American literature of the 20th century with a primary focus on the Harlem Renaissance and digital culture. He has been bringing University of Arizona students to Paris since 2013.

Honors students enrolled in Dr. Carter's Harlem Renaissance course can apply to participate in this project as fulfillment of an "honors contract," while others can apply to participate as independent study students. Those accepted will come to Paris a week prior to the opening of the exhibition to video short segments of a docent explaining some aspect of the 20 paintings selected for the project. They will take high resolution images of these paintings, upload them to a digital platform, and upload the videos and other files as overlays.

The exhibition vernissage (opening) is scheduled for February 3, 2016 and the show will run from February 4-29, 2016. Those who are unable to attend will be able to use the Augmented Reality digital application to scan images in the catalog to access the overlays.

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and the Wells International Foundation (WIF) are pleased that the technology of Augmented Reality will expand the reach and scope of this groundbreaking exhibition. We are currently accepting donations to fund this study abroad experience.

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Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, Reid Hall, and the Wells International Foundation (WIF) are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016! WE VALUE YOUR SUPPORT!

To contribute to the show, click HERE.

To sign-up to receive the latest behind-the-scenes news about the show, click HERE.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Beauford Delaney Paints Marian Anderson: A Play

Beauford's portrait of Marian Anderson is undeniably an exquisite work. Award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and two-time Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellow Arden Kass* was so inspired by the portrait that she wrote a play about Beauford and Anderson entitled Beauford Delaney Paints Marian Anderson.

Marian Anderson
(1965) Oil on canvas
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I found the play on the Indie Theater Now Web site, purchased it for a mere $1.29, and read it avidly. As the story unfolded, I discovered that Beauford is observing episodes in Anderson's life as he paints her.

Ms. Kass granted Les Amis an interview, which you can read below.

Les Amis: When did you first learn about Beauford Delaney and his work?

Arden Kass: I had been invited to contribute a play about an American woman for a project called "365 Women, 365 plays," and I chose to write about Marian Anderson. I knew that she had lived and worked literally around the corner from my house in Philadelphia, that I walked my dog past her former home frequently -- but I had not taken the time to educate myself about her life and work.

In the course of researching Miss Anderson, I came across a mention of Beauford's portrait and was immediately fascinated by him as an artist and by his unique perspective as a person. I read as much as I could find about him, and realized that his portrait of her, while somewhat abstract, captured her more accurately than so many of the photos, interviews and articles I had come across.

Les Amis: Without giving the story away, what is it about?

Arden Kass: Miss Anderson was a notoriously private person and gave away very little of her personal feelings in interviews. The most insight into her personal passions or feelings seems to come through her music. But in my play everything she does not say in words is visible in Beauford's portrait.

Les Amis: Is Beauford a character in the play? Or are you using his name in the title for some other reason?

Arden Kass: Beauford is a full-fledged character in the play -- everything that happens is filtered through his consciousness and his artistic connection with Anderson's music.

Les Amis: Tell us more about the play.

Arden Kass: I wrote Beauford Delaney Paints Marian Anderson in 2014. It is a one act play that lasts about 25 minutes, maybe 1/2 hour if I incorporate recorded music. It has been published by Indie Theater Now, but due to my busy schedule I have not sought a production of it. However, I may be presenting a staged reading in New York at the NY History Society Library.

For a short play, it's a complex script (like Beauford's portrait, that says everything at once.) It requires several actors but isn't very long, so I am not sure how we would achieve a production unless it was part of a festival, for example. I may revisit it and try to double some of the 7 roles.

A composer recently asked me to work with her to expand the play into a musical, but I'm not certain how we'd create a musical about Marian Anderson without using her own music...

Les Amis: How can people stay abreast of developments about the play?

Arden Kass: I have a website, ardenkass.com -- When something happens, I'll announce it there.

*Arden is a member of the Dramatists Guild and BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York. Her most recent theatrical venture, School Play, based entirely on interviews with 100
Pennsylvania residents, has just completed a 15-venue statewide tour. Additional projects include book and lyrics for a musical comedy about the marketing genius who first sold
sexy lingerie to American women in the 1940s (at BMI) and a new one-act about classical singer Marian Anderson slated for a New York reading in 2016.


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Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, Reid Hall, and the Wells International Foundation (WIF) are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016! WE VALUE YOUR SUPPORT!

To contribute to the show, click HERE.

To sign-up to receive the latest behind-the-scenes news about the show, click HERE.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Beauford's Marian Anderson Portrait in "The Art of Music"

The San Diego Museum of Art is hosting a mega exhibition called The Art of Music. It is billed as "a multifaceted and culturally diverse exploration of the intersection between music and art."

Focused around three central themes: "The Musician as Motif," "Social Intersections of Art and Music," and "Formal Connections of Art and Music," the show celebrates the centennial of Balboa Park, which is home to the museum. It pays tribute to the daily musical performances held in the park during the year-long 1915 Panama–California Exposition.

Beauford loved music. I imagine he'd be thrilled to know that his portrait of Marian Anderson, which is currently held by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, is being shown as part of The Art of Music.

Marian Anderson
(1965) Oil on canvas
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In a San Diego Union-Tribune review of the exhibition, journalist James Chute has the following to say about the portrait:

Anderson was an iconic figure in the early civil rights movement, and in this seated portrait — with its vivid yellow background, with her hands folded, and an expression in which each viewer will find his own meaning — she’s looking right at you. This is the sort of painting that if you were living with it, it could change your life. As that’s unlikely (the living-with-it part), just make a point of stopping by to see her whenever you are in the museum. You may even find yourself starting up a conversation...

The museum has included this painting as part of the "The Musician as Motif" theme. It can be found in the subsection for portraits in Gallery 4.

The Art of Music will be on display until February 7, 2016. For more information, click HERE.

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Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, Reid Hall, and the Wells International Foundation (WIF) are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016! WE VALUE YOUR SUPPORT!

To contribute to the show, click HERE.

To sign-up to receive the latest behind-the-scenes news about the show, click HERE.