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, October 29, 2016

From Paris to Knoxville - Part 2

An important part of my visit to Knoxville was having the occasion to visit places important to Beauford's life there.

I had long since learned that the original family home at 815 East Vine Street had been destroyed and that the Delaneys moved to a house on Dandridge Avenue.

What I didn't know was why the original home was destroyed. I learned all about this through a visit to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center.

Beck Cultural Exchange Center (rear)
© Wells International Foundation

Beck's president and CEO, Rev. Reneé Kesler, welcomed Link Sylvia Peters (my gracious hostess for this trip) and me to the Center on Wednesday morning. Rev. Kesler explained how the process of urban renewal, also known as "urban removal," decimated the geographical area occupied by African Americans in Knoxville from 1959 to 1974. The original Delaney home disappeared along with hundreds of others, as did the Delaney barbershop, which was run by Beauford's older brother, Emery. It was located in the front room of the Vine Street house.

The urban renewal of Knoxville is featured in one of several permanent exhibitions at the Center.

"Urban Removal" in Knoxville
Image from Beck Cultural Center Web site

Rev. Kesler gave us a complete tour of the Center, including "The Gallery," where several works of art are displayed. Many of these were created by Beauford's brother, Joseph. There is also a portrait of Beauford in that room, inspired by the first meeting for the Beauford Delaney in America project that took place at Beck on June 2, 2016.

Portrait of Beauford Delaney
Daniel Craft
(2016) Acrylic on canvas
© Wells International Foundation

We then went next door, where it just so happens that the "new" Delaney home is located. The family relocated there at some point between 1964 and 1969 and resided there when Beauford returned to Knoxville for a Christmas visit in 1969. Beck currently owns this property and is making plans to restore it.

Delaney home on Dandridge Avenue
© Wells International Foundation

Rear of Delaney homestead (left) viewed from Beck Center
© Wells International Foundation

The family's place of worship - the Lennon-Seney United Methodist Church - is located just a block down the street. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit it.

I found the Beck Cultural Exchange Center to be a treasure trove of information and artifacts that preserves the legacy of Knoxville's African-American community. It is well positioned for the vital role it will play in the Beauford Delaney in America initiative.

Beck is a Charter Member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Beck Cultural Exchange Center
1927 Dandridge Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37915
Telephone: (865)524-8461
Internet: http://www.beckcenter.net/

Beck Cultural Exchange Center sign
© Wells International Foundation

Read Part 1 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

From Paris to Knoxville - Part 1

I took my first trip to Beauford's hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee this week. What a great pleasure to visit this beautiful city, where Beauford was born and made his first strides as an artist!

I spent much of the first two days of my visit at the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA).

Knoxville Museum of Art
© Discover Paris!

Here, I was thrilled to be able to stand before the three Beauford Delaney paintings* that are on permanent display in KMA's Higher Ground exhibition. Higher Ground showcases some of the best works by East Tennessee artists, including Beauford's first mentor, Lloyd Branson.

Portrait of Delia Delaney
(1933) Pastel on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Dante Pavone as Christ
(1948) Pastel on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


Scattered Light
(1964) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I also had the pleasure of meeting Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, the attorney who represents Beauford's estate. He graciously granted me access to Beauford's archives.

Derek Spratley and Monique Wells
© Discover Paris!

I saw countless photos, several paintings and works on paper, and a mere fraction of the documents that cast light upon the minute details of Beauford's life. There wasn't nearly enough time to go through the entire archive, so I definitely plan to return.

The week's activities included visits to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, the East Tennessee History Center, the office of Mayor Madeline Rogero, and the L&N Stem Academy. It culminated with the kickoff event for the initiative to bring the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition to KMA as part of a larger movement to raise Knoxville's awareness of Beauford and to honor him there.

Look for more details in the next Les Amis blog post.

*Click HERE for details about Portrait of Delia Delaney and Dante Pavone as Christ. Click HERE for details about Scattered Light.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Amaranth Ehrenhalt Remembers Beauford

I do not know if i "want to paint" or do not "want to paint". It is just something that I do - like breathing and moving, walking and talking. I can not imagine my life without it.

-- Amaranth Ehrenhalt

This quote can be found on the Web site of Amaranth Ehrenhalt - painter, sculptor, photographer, and tapistry maker. Ehrenhalt is a seasoned, yet contemporary artist whose works were recently on display in the Works in Progress exhibition at Lawrence Art Gallery. Her description of herself could just as easily be ascribed to Beauford.

"Amara" graciously responded to my request for an interview. She told me that she met Beauford some time around the late 50's - early 60's at a cafe, especially known by artists and writers, possibly Le Select. She was living and working in Paris at the time and did not know anything about him prior to that meeting. She and Beauford participated in exhibitions from time to time and had a friend in common - painter and writer Arlene Hiquily.

Café Select
© Discover Paris!

Amara's most vivid memory of Beauford is of seeing him at the Select, when he came over to the table where she was sitting with others and helped himself to any of the drinks that were unfinished. She said "this was tolerated with amusement because he was such a fine and serious artist."

Saturday, October 8, 2016

SOLD: Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man)

Beauford's Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man) (Lot 21) sold at Swann Auction Galleries' autumn African-American Fine Art sale on Thursday, October 6, 2016.

Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man)
(circa 1930-35) Color pastels and charcoal on
gray, textured wove paper
597x445 mm; 23x17 1/2 inches
Signed in charcoal at lower left
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The purchase price was $5000 (buyer's premium included).

Beauford created a niche for himself during his early years in New York by painting pastel and charcoal portraits. He began at Billy Pierce's Dancing School, applying the skills that he learned at the schools he attended in Boston. Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man) is representative of this period of Beauford's career.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Beauford at Swann Auction Galleries: October 2016 Sale

Swann Auction Galleries is having its autumn sale of African-American Fine Art at 2:30 PM on Thursday, October 6, 2016.

Beauford's Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man) (Lot 21) is available for purchase at this sale.

Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man)
(circa 1930-35) Color pastels and charcoal on
gray, textured wove paper
597x445 mm; 23x17 1/2 inches
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It is signed in charcoal at the lower left.

This portrait is an early work of Beauford, likely made soon after he moved from Knoxville to New York City. It is currently part of a private collection; the owner obtained the work from Beauford's brother, Joseph. Its estimated value is $6,000 - $9,000.

Preview dates for the show are as follows: Saturday, October 1 from 12 PM - 5 PM; Monday, October 3 from 3 PM - 5 PM; and Thursday, October 6 from 10 AM - noon.

For more information, contact Nigel Freeman at

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