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, April 21, 2018

Teaching Creativity and Science through Beauford's Abstract Expressionist Art - Part 1

As the Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville project unfolds, the student participants on both sides of the Atlantic are exercising their imaginations and learning about science as they create works inspired by Beauford's Abstract Expressionist works.

The Jean Zay students in Paris began their venture into abstraction with Beauford's Untitled (1961):

Untitled
(1961) Mixed media on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

First, they decided to use red, orange, and ochre tones to create works made from a mixture of water-based and oil-based pigments. Here are a couple of examples of them:


Jean Zay mixed media on paper
Image courtesy of Jean Zay Elementary Public School

The fact that the students chose to use a color scheme different than the one Beauford chose allowed them to create spontaneously and to appreciate their work.

Later, they wanted to "copy" Untitled using blue and green hues similar to those in the original painting.


Jean Zay students creating watercolors on paper
Images courtesy of Jean Zay Elementary Public School

Many were frustrated with their inability to accurately reproduce Beauford's lines and colors. Project leader Juliette Blache encouraged them not to worry about making an exact replica and to "let themselves go" during this exercise, as they had done before. But some of the students remained unsatisfied with their results.

Meanwhile, across the ocean, the Nature's Way children selected Beauford's Greece (1967) as their inspiration:

Grèce
(1967) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

They created watercolors and oils based on their views of this painting.

Nature's Way Watercolor on paper by Meah
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

Nature's Way oil on canvasboard by MaKenna
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

Back in Paris, the Jean Zay kids selected another abstract to model. This time, it was Beauford's Les Embruns (1963):

Les Embruns
(1963) Mixed media on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Next week, I'll present images of the art the students created based on this mixed media work as well as the science behind this creativity exercise.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Beauford's Playlist

Over the years, I've posted several articles about Beauford's love of music. He appreciated all kinds of music, from classical to gospel.

The children who participate in the Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville project are learning about Beauford's life as well as his art. As they begin to explore abstract painting, they are being inspired by the works shown in the 2016 Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition.

To further inspire them, I sent the Classes Duo educators YouTube links to several recordings of music that Beauford appreciated with the intent of having them share the songs with the students. One of the educators - Elise Brunet of the CASPE 6/14 office in Paris - was inspired to create a Beauford Delaney playlist on YouTube so the kids can listen to an uninterrupted medley of songs while they paint!

The selections are based on information found in the Beauford Delaney biography, Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney. They include specific songs mentioned in the book, such as "I'm Glad Salvation is Free" and "Saturday Night Function," as well as other songs by artists that Beauford loved.

Mahalia Jackson - "I"m Glad Salvation is Free"
Screenshot from YouTube video

Listen to the playlist here: Beauford Delaney's Playlist.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Sold for $557,000! - Beauford's Village Street Scene

Beauford's Untitled (Village Street Scene) sold for $557,000 at Swann Auction Galleries' April 5 African American Fine Art sale.

Untitled (Village Street Scene)
(1948) Oil on canvas
737x1016 mm; 29x40 inches
Signed and dated in oil, lower left.
Image from Swann Auction Galleries Web site
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The sale price includes a buyer's premium of 25%*. The hammer price of $460,000 far exceeded the estimated value of the painting ($150,000 - $250,000).

According to the Swann Auction Galleries' Web site, large canvases from Beauford's New York period are extremely scarce - this is only the second to come to auction in the past thirty years.

Nigel Freeman, director of the African-American Fine Art department at Swann, shared that the previous auction record for Beauford's work is $176,250 for Street Scene, a 1950 oil on canvas sold at Clarke Auction Gallery, Larchmont, NY, on October 27, 2008. This work is now called Untitled (Greene Street). See an image of the painting in the Les Amis blog post entitled "La Vie en Rose".

*At auction, there are two prices--the hammer price, or the price at which the item sells during the auction, and the price with the buyer's premium. All auction houses have a buyer's premium that the buyer pays to the auction house in addition to the hammer price. The buyer’s premium for items purchased directly through Swann is 25%. Swann Auction Galleries now reports the "hammer price" and the price that include the buyer's premium in its online catalog.

For more information, contact Nigel Freeman at
.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Beauford at Swann Auction Galleries' 5 April 2018 African American Fine Art Sale

A single, magnificent Beauford Delaney landscape painting is available for purchase at Swann Auction Galleries' April 5 African American Fine Art sale.

Untitled (Village Street Scene)
(1948) Oil on canvas
737x1016 mm; 29x40 inches
Signed and dated in oil, lower left.
Image from Swann Auction Galleries Web site
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Beauford lived at 181 Greene Street in Greenwich Village in 1948. Among his accomplishments that year were a solo exhibition at the Artists Gallery on 57th Street and being awarded second prize in the Village Art Center's annual competition for a portrait of James Baldwin. In November 1948, Baldwin would depart for Paris.

Beauford combined vibrant colors and geometric circles and angles to create this singular work. The almost inconspicuous shadow of a single, anonymous human provides the only sign of life in this cityscape.

According to the Swann Auction Galleries' Web site, large canvases from Beauford's New York period are extremely scarce - this is only the second to come to auction in the past thirty years.

The estimated value of Untitled (Village Street Scene) is $150,000 - $250,000.

The auction will take place at 2:30 PM on Thursday, April 5, 2018. Preview dates are as follows: March 31, 12-5 PM; April 2 to 4, 10-6 PM; April 5, 10-12 PM.

For more information, contact Nigel Freeman at
.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Beauford - "La Vie en Rose"

As I sat down to write this post and contemplated the approach of the 39th anniversary of Beauford's death (he passed away on March 26, 1979), I found myself thinking of his indomitable spirit and the myriad ways that he used color to express it.

For some reason, the Edith Piaf song, "La Vie en Rose," as recorded by Louis Armstrong popped into my head and I decided to look through images of Beauford's work to see how he used this color throughout the years. I share a few examples below.

Central Park
(1950) Oil on canvas
Image from Pomegranate Note Card
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
(1958) Gouache on paper
25 1/2" x 19 5/8", signed and dated
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York , NY

Untitled (Greene Street)
(1950) Oil on canvas
signed and dated lower left: B. Delaney. 1950
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled (Grape Motif)
(1946) Pastel on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
(1964) Oil on canvas
Collection of Elliot & Kimberly Perry
Image courtesy of Ashley Phifer
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Man in African Dress
(1972) Watercolor on Paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Charlie Parker Yardbird
(1958) Oil on canvas
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of the James F. Dicke Family
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Beauford Viewed through the Eyes of Children

The Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville project that connects children at the Jean Zay Elementary Public School in Paris' 14th arrondissement with children at the Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville, Tennessee through Beauford's life and art continues to exceed expectations! The American kids are learning French, the French kids are learning English, and both groups are anticipating being able to meet face-to-face in the fall.

Between the video conference held on February 2 and the one held on March 9, the students created clay sculptures of Josephine Baker and her cheetah, Chiquita. These were inspired by the story about Beauford and his brother, Joseph, modeling red clay during their youth and the information presented about how Beauford admired Baker and followed her career.

Jean Zay sculptures of Josephine Baker
Image courtesy of Jean Zay Elementary School

Jean Zay sculptures of Josephine Baker
Image courtesy of Jean Zay Elementary School

The Knoxville students even glazed their sculptures.

Nature's Way sculptures of Josephine Baker and Chiquita
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

Nature's Way sculptures in kiln
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

During the March 9 videoconference, the children asked each other numerous personal questions, such as whether they have pets, whether they prefer painting to sculpting, what kinds of sports they play... Jean Zay kids had their questions written in English with French phonetics to help them pronounce their words properly.

Jean Zay sculptures of Josephine Baker
© Wells International Foundation

On the Knoxville side, the children told coordinator Mary Campbell what they wanted to say and she instructed them how to say it in French.

Nature's Way kids and coordinator Mary Campbell on screen
© Wells International Foundation

There was more talk of food as well, with kids sharing that they enjoy eating spaghetti and meatballs, samoussas, and apples, among other things.

The Jean Zay children sang two songs for the Knoxville kids: "J'ai Deux Amours" by Josephine Baker, and Ten Little Witches!

Announcement for Witches song
© Wells International Foundation

Children singing "Ten Little Witches"
© Wells International Foundation

Just before wrapping up this session, the Jean Zay kids shared their pastel portraits of Beauford, inspired by the self-portrait that graces the cover of the catalog for the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color art exhibition.

Jean Zay student holding Resonance of Form catalog
© Wells International Foundation

Displaying Beauford Delaney Portraits for Nature's Way kids
© Wells International Foundation

Posing with Beauford Delaney Portraits
© Wells International Foundation

For more images of these portraits and the clay sculptures of Josephine and Chiquita, click on the links below:

Nature's Way - Working with Clay
Jean Zay - Working with Clay
9 March 2018 Session
Beauford Delaney Portraits

And continue to watch this blog for updates on the project!




Saturday, March 10, 2018

Beauford at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery

Focus on Abstract Gems is the current exhibition being shown at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York.

A description of the exhibition on the gallery Web site indicates the following:

Our charming exhibit of small paintings, paper pieces, and sculptures are worth the trip. These works adhere to the gallery’s focus of abstract expressionist style, but offers an eclectic variety of genre, medium and eras. It exposes rare drawings, prints, photographs and paintings from some of the most significant artists of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Among the works on paper is Beauford's Untitled (Ibiza).

Untitled (Ibiza)
(1956) gouache and watercolor
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It came from the traveling exhibition An Artistic Friendship: Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno, which originated at the Palmer Museum of Art (Pennsylvania State University) in February 2001.

Anita Shapolsky has exhibited works by Lawrence Calcagno for many years. She purchased this Beauford Delaney work while it was in a joint exhibition with Lawrence Calcagno works at her gallery.

She commented on Beauford's art as follows:

"From the works that I have seen, I feel that they are lyrical, colorfield abstractions."

Focus on Abstract Gems will be on display through April 7, 2018.

Anita Shapolsky Gallery
AS Art Foundation
152 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
Telephone: 212.452.1094
Internet: http://www.anitashapolskygallery.com/

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Beauford Delaney Abstract Finds Permanent Home at the Mint Museum

One of my favorite Beauford Delaney abstracts is Untitled (1959), an oil on canvas that Beauford gave to a private collector in Paris.

Untitled
(1959) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In April 2017, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC purchased the painting with funds from The Katherine and Thomas Belk Acquisition Fund. It now hangs in the new re-installation of the museum's modern and contemporary galleries, where it hangs alongside works by Grace Hartigan, Elaine deKooning, Lynne Drexler, and other American artists who explored many avenues of abstraction. It is the first Beauford Delaney work that the museum has acquired.

Mint Museum Modern and Contemporary Galleries
(Untitled is shown at the far right)
Image courtesy of Mint Museum

Jonathan Stuhlman, Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art, graciously granted me an interview about the acquisition. He told me that he selected this piece from 5-6 large scale Beauford Delaney abstracts that he was fortunate enough to have viewed simultaneously.

One of the considerations for the purchase of this particular work was the desire to acquire something unique compared to the other Beauford Delaney paintings that could be seen in the region at the time. Museums in Atlanta, GA; Norfolk, VA; Richmond, VA; Greenville, SC; and Greensboro, NC own works by Beauford and the majority of these are portraits.

Other considerations included the Mint's desire to add to its collection of Post-war abstractions, to continue to collect works by artists from North Carolina and the surrounding region, and to diversify its collection of works by African-American artists. (The Mint Museum has an impressive collection of works by Romare Bearden but not many works by other African-American artists.)

When Stuhlman saw Untitled, his "eyes were opened" to the wide variety of ways that Beauford applied paint to canvas. He was drawn to the "energy and vibrancy" of the brushwork and the colors in this painting and he expressed how he appreciates the "interactivity" among the colors in the work. In describing it, he said:
[Beauford] has a fabulous sense for all different shades of color ... there's strong yellow to this work, but the way it interacts with the rich variety of turquoise blues and the rose colors ... this is a fabulously active and energetic canvas. It's bursting with energy!

Stuhlman included the following statement in the label that is affixed to the wall next to Untitled:

Delaney poured all of himself into his art, a quality that is almost palpable in this dynamic canvas. Writing about Delaney’s paintings in 1962, artist and critic Paul Jenkins could easily have been referring to Untitled: “The structure was there in each painting, but one senses more of a veil than a grid. It was as if he had cut hundreds of flowers and crushed them. Stems and all.”

Untitled was shown at the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition in Paris in 2016. It is one of the works that is "augmented" with the Blippar app. The Mint Museum is considering making the app's content available to visitors so they can view spoken word artist Mike Ladd reciting the poem he was inspired to write when he viewed the work. The museum has obtained a catalog from Resonance of Form for its library and is considering offering it for purchase in its gift shops.

Catalog cover

Soon after it was purchased, Untitled was hung in the museum's atrium for 4-5 months in a space reserved for new acquisitions. In January 2018, it was placed on permanent display in the modern and contemporary galleries and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

East Tennessee History Center Acquires Part of Beauford Delaney Archives

On January 27, 2018, Case Antiques of Knoxville, Tennessee sold a bundle of Beauford Delaney memorabilia during its Historic Winter Auction.

Paintbrushes and pencils, French Lesson, Letters
Image from Case Antiques Web site

The successful bidder was the East Tennessee History Center, which is also located in Knoxville.

East Tennessee History Center
© Wells International Foundation

The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee History Center is the sponsor for an historical marker that will honor Beauford and his brother, Joseph, in Knoxville. The center aspires to eventually house the entire archive held by the Beauford Delaney estate and thereby contribute to the fulfillment of the mission of Knoxville's "Gathering Light" project to make Knoxville a center of excellence for the study of the Delaney brothers' art.

The purchase consisted of the following:
  • three letters, all of which were written by Beauford and addressed to his brother, Samuel (Emery) Delaney
  • a greeting card sent to Beauford's niece, Ogust Delaney Stewart, from his friends, Dolly and Al Hirschfeld
  • an 14 1/8" H x 8 5/8" W card (unsigned) on which is drawn a pencil sketch of figures that illustrate the mathematical sum of "2+2"
  • numerous paintbrushes and drawing pencils
Bidding for this lot was spirited and the purchase price was well over four times the highest estimated bid.

(The Schomburg Center in NYC also has a Beauford Delaney archive.)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Knoxville Museum of Art Is Now Largest Museum Repository for Beauford Delaney Works

Since making the acquaintance of 11 Knoxvillians who came to Paris in February 2016 to see the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition and visit Beauford's old haunts on the "Beauford Delaney's Montparnasse" walking tour, the trajectories of this blog and the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) have been intertwined.

I have visited Knoxville twice since that time and have come to know Executive Director David Butler, Barbara W. and Bernard E. Bernstein Curator Stephen Wicks, former KMA trustee Sylvia Peters, and many others at the museum as we have worked in parallel on both sides of the Atlantic to preserve and extend Beauford's legacy.

So it is with great pleasure that I write this post to announce that KMA is now the world's largest public repository for Beauford Delaney oils, watercolors, and pastels.

Knoxville Museum of Art at Twilight
Photo courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art

Leading museum collections of Beauford Delaney’s work

The expansion of the collection has been gathering steam since 2014, when KMA acquired two works with funds provided by the KMA Collectors Circle. In August 2014, it acquired nineteen additional works, including the abstract oil entitled Scattered Light (1963). A subsequent purchase brought the total number of works owned to thirty-seven (37).

In 2016, the museum purchased two portraits: Portrait of Delia Delaney (1933) and Dante Pavone as Christ (1948).

In 2017, it acquired twelve (12) major works from the Delaney estate. Three of the twelve were obtained through a partnership between KMA and the Knoxville chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

“This purchase represents the highest and best expression of the museum’s commitment to the visual culture of our region,” states KMA Executive Director David Butler. “A broad spectrum of the community responded generously and with alacrity and enthusiasm to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the KMA a vital resource for the study, preservation, and promotion of Beauford Delaney’s work.”

The following images represent some of the works purchased in 2017.

Blue Light Abstraction
(ca. 1962) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled (African Figure)
(ca. 1965) Oil on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Abstraction #12
(1963) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

KMA plans to mount a major international exhibition of Beauford Delaney’s work in the fall of 2019, and is participating with a growing roster of local cultural organizations operating collectively as “The Delaney Project” to organize events to celebrate the achievements of Beauford and his brother, artist Joseph Delaney, in their hometown.

Selections from the 2017 purchase will be on view at the KMA beginning this spring.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville - A Successful Debut

In the Les Amis blog post dated December 16, 2017, I shared news about Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville - a collaborative project between the Wells International Foundation (WIF) and the City of Paris' CASPE* administrative service that has emerged from the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition.

Sixteen (16) students from Jean Zay Elementary Public School in Paris and sixteen (16) students from Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville, TN are connecting via video conference to learn about each other's language and culture through Beauford's life and art.

The first video conference was held on January 12, 2018. It was an unqualified success, with the French and American students taking turns introducing themselves by name and stating their ages on camera. Having practiced ahead of time, the French students were able to introduce themselves in English and the American students were able to do so in French.

Jean Zay students
© Wells International Foundation

Nature's Way students
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

With the adult leaders translating, each group then asked questions of the other – things such as whether they like school, where they have traveled, whether they have seen popular landmarks (Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building), and whether they like candy. The French students showed two posters they created that displayed small portrait drawings and a photo of Beauford Delaney. Both posters bore Delaney's name, acknowledging the man whose legacy is binding the students together.

Jean Zay students proudly show their Beauford Delaney poster
© Wells International Foundation

The second video conference was held on February 2, 2018. Students from both schools focused their artistic talents on creating drawings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and images of various modes of travel inspired by Beauford's maiden voyage from the U.S. to France on the S.S. Liberté. Students from Jean Zay also drew portraits of Rosa Parks and Josephine Baker, inspired by these women's roles in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the sites named after them in Paris. They wrote reports about King, Parks, and Baker and read them to the Nature's Way students during the conference.

Jean Zay students' portraits of Rosa Parks
© Wells International Foundation

Nature's Way student's portrayal of modes of travel
between the U.S. and France
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

To get to know each other better during the second conference, the students shared what they had for breakfast that morning. The Nature's Way students asked if the Jean Zay students had been to the Eiffel Tower and a lively exchange ensued as the Jean Zay students revealed that the Eiffel Tower can be seen from a vantage point near their school. Several students also talked about the view they have of the Eiffel Tower from their apartment buildings.

Both groups are growing increasingly excited about the prospect of the Nature's Way students paying a visit to Paris to visit the Jean Zay students. The target date for this trip is Autumn 2018.

The next video conference is scheduled for March 9, 2018. In preparation for this meeting, the students will create sculptures from red clay—just as Beauford and his brother, Joseph, did during their youth.

To see additional images of the students' artwork, click on the links below:

Martin Luther King, Jr. by Nature's Way students
MLK, Rosa Parks, Josephine Baker by Jean Zay students
Travel by Nature's Way and Jean Zay students

Watch this blog for updates on how the program progresses!

*CASPE - Circonscription des Affaires Scolaires et de la Petite Enfance

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Beauford Delaney Works Sold at Case Antiques Historic Winter Auction

Case Antiques successfully sold two Beauford Delaney abstracts and a bundle of Beauford's letters and other memorabilia on Saturday, January 27.

The estimated sale price for Abstract on Paper No. 351 was $5,800 - $6,200.

Lot 484: Abstract on Paper No. 351
(1964) Watercolor on paper
22 1/2" x 16"
Signed and dated lower right
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Lot 484: Abstract on Paper No. 351
Signature and date
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It sold for $7,440.

The estimated sale price for Abstract on Paper No. 313 is $6,400 - $7,000.

Lot 485: Abstract on Paper No. 313
(1962) Watercolor on paper
25 1/2" x 19 1/4 "
Signed and dated lower right
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Lot 485: Abstract on Paper No. 313
Signature and date
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It sold for $15,000.

The estimated sale price for the "Archive of Beauford Delaney Letters and Related Objects" (comprised of 29 items, most of which are paintbrushes and drawing pencils) was $800 - $900.

Lot 487: Paintbrushes and pencils, French Lesson, Letters
Image from Case Antiques Web site

It sold for $4,800.

All sale prices indicated include a 20% 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.

For additional information, contact Case Antiques at
.