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, January 14, 2017

Case Antiques Auction of Beauford Delaney Abstract

An unusual Beauford Delaney abstract is up for auction at Case Antiques in Knoxville, TN:

Abstract Still Life Composition
(1976) Oil on board, acrylic and mixed media
Signed and dated lower left "Beauford Delaney 1976"
13 7/8" H x 19 5/8"
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This piece is dated 1976, which is the year after Beauford was committed to Sainte-Anne's Hospital. It is the first piece I recall seeing that dates from the last four years of his life.

Abstract Still Life Composition (detail)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The provenance is listed as "Private South Carolina collection, originally purchased from the Tree Gallery in Chicago, Illinois."

I had hoped to interview Jim Romano, owner of the Tree Gallery, to learn how he acquired the painting. The Tree Gallery was located at 613 Tree Studios of the historically-classified Tree Studios Building and Annexes in Chicago's River North district. This property was renovated in the early 2000s and all occupants were forced to vacate the premises.

Upon researching Romano, I learned that he died in 2007.

Case Antiques has sold the following Beauford Delaney paintings in the past:

Untitled
Watercolor on paper
Signed and dated lower left in red ink, "Beauford Delaney 1971"
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


Portrait of Delia Delaney
(1964) Oil on canvas
Knoxville Museum of Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


Untitled (Abstract of Face)
Oil on fabric pillowcase
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


The estimated sale price for Acrylic Still Life Composition is $4,000 - $6,000.

The auction is scheduled for January 21, 2017. For additional information, contact Case Antiques at

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Beauford at the American Cultural Center's Paris Celebration of Henry Miller

Henry Miller and Beauford met for the first time in New York during the early 1940s. Miller visited Beauford's Greene Street studio in the fall of 1943 and Beauford painting a stunning portrait of him in 1944.

Beauford showed the painting during a group exhibition in New York in 1945 and had it shipped to Miller's home in Big Sur in 1946. An image of the portrait was included in a 1971 Playboy article about Miller.

Photo of Henry Miller at his home in Big Sur
standing in front of Beauford's portrait of him
Photo from Beauford Delaney archives
reproduced by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image @Wells International Foundation

Beauford and Miller developed a deep and lifelong friendship and Beauford was one of the persons Miller sought out whenever he visited Paris.

So it is perhaps not surprising that when the American Cultural Center in Paris organized a birthday celebration for Miller in January 1972, Beauford would be invited to participate in the festivities.

Don Foresta was the director of the American Cultural Center, AKA "The Dragon Center," at the time. I met him in Paris and he shared the story of this event for publication in the blog.

Foresta took on the directorship of the Center in 1971 as a long-time diplomat of the U.S. Foreign Service. Shortly thereafter, he was approached by Robert Snyder, Miller's son-in-law, about screening Snyder's 1969 documentary entitled "The Henry Miller Odyssey." Inspired by Snyder's request, Foresta organized a birthday celebration for Miller that took place at the Center in January 1972. (Miller was born on December 26, 1891.)

Snyder told Foresta about Beauford and Foresta met Beauford shortly thereafter. He visited Beauford at the rue Vercingétorix studio and found him to be quite serious and not very talkative.

Foresta went on to invite four artists who knew Miller and whose work Miller appreciated to contribute works to be shown at the week-long event: Beauford, Brassaï (Gyula Halász), Michonze, and Hans Reichel. Their exhibition was called Les Amis Parisiens de Henry Miller.

The Center published a catalog of sorts, which included a printed list of the seven works that Beauford contributed to the show and a full-page color reproduction of Beauford's portrait of Miller that is signed by Beauford in blue ink at the bottom margin of the page.


Portrait of Henry Miller
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image (detail) from Abe Books Web site

Miller's favorite music was played on piano and French translations of some of his texts were read.

While the description of the event in Beauford'd biography, Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, indicates that Miller attended the event, Foresta says that Miller could not travel to Paris to celebrate his birthday. Both sources state that Miller shipped Beauford's portrait to Paris and that it served as the centerpiece of the art exhibition.

Beauford wrote a tribute to Miller for his 80th birthday, which I published previously on the Les Amis blog. Read it HERE.

"Henry Miller 80," the document that the American Cultural Center printed for the event, is a collector's item. It is available for purchase at Abe Books and at Amazon.com.



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Beauford at the Musée du quai Branly's Exhibition The Color Line

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald (detail)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Beauford's Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald is a sparkling gem among the works of fine art being displayed at the exhibition entitled The Color Line, which is currently being shown at the Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac in Paris.

On loan from the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, South Carolina, it hangs in the "Black is Beautiful" section of the exhibition.

The SCAD Museum of Art describes the painting as follows:

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald encapsulates Beauford Delaney’s range of artistic styles, marrying gestural abstract mark making with portraiture. His figurative works, which included portraits of other notable artists of the time such as Duke Ellington and Marian Anderson, turned ever more abstract and into complete non-representation after Delaney moved from New York to Paris in the early 1950s. This portrait parallels this stylistic shift as the characteristics of Ms. Fitzgerald’s face subtly emerge from, or disappear into, the expansive field of color and texture around her.

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald
(1968) Oil on canvas
Permanent collection of the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah
Gift of Dr. Walter O. and Mrs. Linda J. Evans
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


The Color Line
is an exhibition about U.S. history in which an inordinate number of works of fine art are hung. It will be on display through January 15, 2017.

The Color Line
Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac
37, quai Branly
75007 Paris
Telephone: 01.56.61.70.00
Internet: http://www.quaibranly.fr
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday - 11 AM to 7 PM; Thursday through Saturday - 11 AM to 9 PM. Closed Mondays.
Entry fee: 10€
Reduced fee: 7€

***************

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is taking off for the holidays and will be back online in January 2017.

For a jazzy start to your Christmas weekend, click HERE to enjoy a song by Ella!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Beauford at the Studio Museum in Harlem's Circa 1970 Exhibition



Circa 1970
presents paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, and sculpture from the Studio Museum in Harlem's collection. Forty-one (41) works by twenty-six (26) artists were selected by Lauren Haynes to explore the historical, socio-political, and cultural landscapes of the period between 1970 and 1979. Hayes was formerly Associate Curator of the Permanent Collection at The Studio Museum in Harlem and is now Curator of Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Beauford's Portrait of a Young Musician was selected as the signature painting for promoting the exhibition, which includes works by artists such as David Hammons and Barbara Chase-Riboud, as well as personal friends of Beauford such as Ed Clark and Romare Bearden.

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

The portrait was first shown at the Studio Museum during the first retrospective of Beauford's work that took place from April 9-July 2, 1978. That exhibition was curated by the late Dr. Richard A. Long.

The information panel for Circa 1970 refers to the 1970s as a decade of increased social consciousness and awareness that allowed for greater inclusivity for black artists in the mainstream art world. While Beauford had been living in Paris for almost 20 years by this time, he benefited somewhat from this "opening." In the biography Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, author David Leeming writes that 1970 and 1971 were "years of success of sorts":

Georgia O'Keeffe's portrait of him was on display at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery asked to borrow the Marian Anderson portrait that only a few years earlier they had declined to purchase, . . . [and] his portrait of Henry Miller was in the November 1971 issue of Playboy magazine.

In France, the solo exhibition that Darthea Speyer organized for him in Paris in 1973 inspired a positive review written by French journalist Jacques Michel for Le Monde.

Circa 1970
November 17, 2016 - March 5, 2017
The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street
New York, New York 10027

Museum Hours
Wednesday: 5pm–7pm, Members Only
Thursday: 12pm–9pm
Friday: 12pm–9pm
Saturday: 10am–6pm
Sunday: 12pm–6pm

The Museum is closed on Christmas Day.