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.!

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Beauford and Joseph Delaney to Be Honored in Knoxville

As a direct result of inspiration stemming from the two plaques that honor Beauford in the Montparnasse district of Paris, members of the Gathering Light movement in Knoxville have received approval for the installation of a double-sided marker that honors Beauford and his brother Joseph near the original Delaney home.

The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville is the sponsor for the proposed historical marker.

East Tennessee History Center
© Wells International Foundation

The Beck Cultural Exchange Center and the Knoxville Museum of Art are co-sponsors of the request.

Beck Cultural Exchange Center
© Wells International Foundation

Knoxville Museum of Art
© Wells International Foundation

The proposed location for the marker is the corner of E. Summit Hill Drive SE and Patton St (the preferred location) or directly across the street on the opposite side of E. Summit Hill Drive SE.

The placement is as near as the co-sponsors can get to Beauford's birthplace on E. Vine Street, which was destroyed by urban "renewal" between 1959 and 1974.

Proposed location of Delaney marker
Google map

The proposed text that honors Beauford reads as follows:

BEAUFORD DELANEY
1901 – 1979

Beauford Delaney is considered one of the
greatest abstract painters of the 20th century.
Battling poverty, racial prejudice, and mental
illness, he achieved acclaim for his expressive
portraits, cityscapes, and abstractions.
Beauford was an African American artist, one
of ten children born to Delia and John Samuel
Delaney at 815 East Vine Avenue, Knoxville,
near this site, but he spent most of his life in
New York City and Paris, forming lifelong
friendships with James Baldwin, Henry Miller,
and other luminaries. Beauford Delaney is buried
in Cimetière Parisien de Thiais.

The proposed text for Joseph is as follows:

JOSEPH DELANEY
1904 – 1991

Born near this site, African American artist
Joseph Delaney, like his older brother Beauford,
studied under local artist Lloyd Branson. In 1930
Joseph began his studies in New York at the Art
Students League. Joseph spent the next
56 years painting portraits and scenes of
urban life in lower Manhattan. In 1986, he
returned to Knoxville and served as artist in
residence at University of Tennessee until his
death in 1991. His works are in the collection of
the Smithsonian American Art Museum and other
major museums. Joseph Delaney is buried in
Greenwood Cemetery, Knoxville.

Image of a portrait of Joseph Delaney
by Beauford Delaney
in Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney
by David A. Leeming

The co-sponsors hope that the installation will take place in March / April 2018. They have submitted a follow-up request to have a single marker placed for Beauford and a second marker for Joseph on opposite sides of the street. The text for each marker would face oncoming traffic.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Beauford in the New York Times

On a whim, I recently decided to search Google for articles about Beauford in the New York Times.

While he is mentioned in several write-ups about art exhibitions in which his work was / is being shown or acquisitions of his paintings by museums, I found only two articles devoted entirely to his life.

The most recent is the brilliant piece written by Jake Cigainero and published last September:

Beauford Delaney Returns to the Scene


The other is an obituary, published on April 1, 1979. The author was C. Gerald Fraser, a journalist who had worked for the Times for 12 years at the time he wrote the article.

Beauford Delaney, Painter, Dies; Portraitist of the Famous Was 77


An article that comes close to being devoted exclusively to Beauford is Mel Watkins' review of David Leeming's biography, Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney:

Painting Shadows

A piece called Art in Review presents the 1994 Philippe Briet Gallery exhibition of Beauford's work entitled The New York Years (1929-1953). It was written by Roberta Smith.

This online search led me to a newspaper archive search that has 678 entries for Beauford! As time permits, I'll be delving into these articles to see what gems I can uncover and share.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Beauford's Greens

I'll never forget a discussion I led during the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition in February 2016, where the group was contemplating the self-portrait that graces the cover of the exhibition catalog:

We were discussing the fact that Beauford chose to portray himself in green and I stated my belief that he may have chosen that color because he did not feel well at the time he painted the portrait.

Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color
Catalog cover

Artist Loulou Taÿeb, who knew Beauford personally and who painted a portrait of him, was among the visitors in the group. He commented that he thought Beauford painted himself in green because "green is a beautiful color."

Portrait of Beauford Delaney
Loulou Taÿeb
(undated) Oil on canvas
Portrait: © Loulou Taÿeb
Image: © Discover Paris!

From then on, I have paid much closer attention to the greens in Beauford's work. Today, I'm sharing a few images that demonstrate his mastery of the use of this color.

Untitled
(1962) Gouache and watercolor on wove paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire
Court Appointed Administrator
Photo courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Portrait of Jean-Loup Msika (detail)
(1971) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Jean-Loup Msika

Untitled (abstract green drip)
(1958) Gouache on paper
DCMoore Gallery
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of a Young Musician
(1970) Acrylic on canvas
51 x 38 in; 129.5 x 96.5 cm
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Ms. Ogust Delaney Stewart, Knoxville, TN 2004.2.27
Photo: Marc Bernier

Untitled
(1965) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago