Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beauford the Mentor

I'm happy to welcome E. L. Kornegay, Jr., Ph.D., M.Div. and founder of the Baldwin~Delaney Institute for Academic Enrichment and Faith Flourishing back to the pages of the Les Amis blog! Today, E. L. shares his thoughts about Beauford as mentor.

As violence becomes more of what connects us one to another across the world, what about Beauford might help us to quell the rage fueling the aggression and brutality? Everyday acts, stories, and sounds paint graphic pictures of violence that are completely antithetical to Beauford’s artistic eye.

Happily, this artistic eye – the cultivation and articulation captured in Beauford’s style – is something transferable. Through it, Beauford is able to mentor us to find a way to channel the rage that produces the violence.

Detail of Self-Portrait
(1944) Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago
Photo courtesy of Tim Paulson
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

As mentor, Beauford showed a young James Baldwin how to create literary art out of his rage. Yes, Baldwin expressed anger through his writing. However, his vivid style and his message always lent themselves to creating a new world: a world in which love would reign supreme. Beauford gave Baldwin a way not to succumb to the fear of a world that wanted him dead or to drive him to insanity, a way to find instead a more peaceable and transformative path.

Photo portraits of James Baldwin (1955) and Beauford (1953)
Carl Van Vechten
Collage by Discover Paris!

The serenity in Beauford’s paintings has the capacity to mentor us into a peaceable existence. Just look at his work and see where it takes you. The peaceable feeling derived from the colors and figures mentor us into a new way of thinking about ourselves and the world around us.

Still Life with Pears
(1946) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Abstract in Orange and Red
(1963) Gouache on wove paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
(1961) Watercolor on paper
© Christie's Images
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

We need to lift up those who are the real mentors: the ones who are able to look into the darkness and see the light. Let us not merely admire the art or ponder over the man, but embrace the meaning of how the two come together to mentor us.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beauford Delaney Letter Archived by Smithsonian

A letter written by Beauford to Al Hirschfeld was recently entered into the Smithsonian Archives of American Art:

Image from Smithsonian Archives of American Art

It is dated September 3, 1940. The return address is 181 Greene Street, New York City.

Beauford in his Greene Street studio, New York City, 1944
© Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

Among the things that Beauford expresses in this letter are listening to recordings by the blues guitarist Blind Boy Fuller (Fulton Allen [1908-1941]) and his desire to take Hirschfeld to a place "where there are happy feet and Weary Blues also Barbecued ribs."

He signed his name "De Laney," which his biographer, David A. Leeming, indicates was "the more dignified spelling of his surname - one favored by his mother."

Al Hirschfeld's papers are also held by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian.

Listen to Blind Boy Fuller sing "Truckin' Little Baby" by clicking below.




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Richard A. Long collection of Delaney paintings Swann Auction Galleries

On October 9th at 2:30 PM, Swann Auction Galleries is holding an African American Fine Art that features works from the collection of Richard A. Long (1927-2013). Richard was Atticus Haygood Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Emeritus, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia for many years. He was a dear friend of Beauford.

Seven Beauford Delaney paintings will be auctioned at the event. Two are abstract compositions and the remaining five are figurative works.

One of the figurative paintings is a pastel portrait of Richard (Lot 14). It was exhibited at the Beauford Delaney retrospective that Richard organized at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1978. It is signed, dated and inscribed "Paris" in ball point pen and ink at the lower left.

Portrait of Richard A. Long
(1965) Color pastels on cream wove paper
660x508 mm; 26x20 inches
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated value of this work is $15000 - $25000.

(Beauford also painted an oil portrait of Richard that is currently on display at the High Museum in Atlanta.)

Kitchen (Lot 17) is a watercolor on thin wove paper. Inscribed "Paris" and dated in ball point pen and blue ink, lower left, it comes to auction directly from the Long estate. Geneviève Brouard, one of Beauford's dear friends, identifies this kitchen as the one from Beauford's studio at rue Vercingétorix.

Kitchen
(1970) Watercolor and pencil on cream wove paper
548x450 mm; 21 5/8x17 3/4 inches
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated value of this work is $6000 - $9000.

Lot 97 is a magnificent, untitled abstract composition, signed in ink and ball point pen at the lower left. It was shown in the exposition entitled An Artistic Friendship: Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno in 2001 / 2002 and it was originally owned by Calcagno. This painting is from the same period as the diptych shown at the Beauford Delaney: Internal Light exposition at Levis Fine Art in 2013.

Untitled
(1956) Gouache and watercolor on Schollershammer paper
457x305 mm; 18x12 inches
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated value of this work is $8000 - $12000.

To see the other paintings in the online catalog, click here.

For more information, contact Alaina McEachin at .

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beauford Delaney Crossword Puzzle

Imagine my surprise when I Googled Beauford's name the other day and saw that there is a crossword puzzle dedicated to him!

Beauford Delaney Crossword Activity
Logo by Alicia L. McDaniel,
Creator of the Beauford Delaney Crossword Activity

Alicia L. McDaniel is the author of "Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul" at www.artforthecreativesoul.com. A native of Detroit, Michigan, she has a B.S. in Art Education from Wayne State University and an M.A. in Humanities from Central Michigan University. A professional artist, she enjoys expressing her creativity by painting in bright colors and bold patterns.

Alicia has over 15 years of professional teaching experience. She has created "an affordable group of art history lessons, activities and games" that she makes available on her Web site. One of these lessons is the Beauford Delaney Crossword Activity.

Alecia considers this crossword puzzle to be a wonderful way to introduce secondary students (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders, Homeschool students) and staff to Beauford's talent:

After learning about Mr. Delaney many years ago, I began to teach students in grades 9-12 about his incredible talent as an artist and interesting journey as an African-American man in the 20th century. His work is inspiring and timeless.

The puzzle comes with a lesson plan, answer key, and activity sheet. Students are instructed to read a biographical paragraph about Beauford and then complete the puzzle.

For more information, click here.