Saturday, August 1, 2015

Beauford Delaney Works Sold at Case Antiques Auctions


A couple of weeks ago, I reported on the auctioning of three Beauford Delaney works by Case Antiques Auctions & Appraisals of Knoxville, Tennessee on July 18, 2015. One of them - the 1971 landscape watercolor on paper - was sold.

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

The low estimate set for this painting was $2,500.00 and the high estimate was $3,500.00. It sold for $3,186.00*.

The other two paintings from the July auction remain unsold.

Case Antiques sold two Beauford Delaney works at auction in January 2015.

One was a portrait of Beauford's mother, Delia, which Beauford executed from memory in 1964. (Delia Delaney died in 1958.) It was shown in the Studio Museum in Harlem retrospective of Beauford's work in 1978.

Portrait of Delia Delaney
(1964) Oil on canvas
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This painting sold for $48,380.00*, an amount that far exceeded the high estimate of $14,000.00.

The other was an untitled abstract of a human face. Remarkably, Beauford's paint cloth and paint stick - both of which have paint residue similar to the paints used for this abstract - were offered for sale with the work.

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

From the Case Antiques Web site:

Beauford Delaney's departure from New York to Paris in 1953 also marked the transition from figurative compositions to abstract expressionism with a focus on color and light. Strapped with financial challenges in his early Paris years, he was believed to have painted on other found objects if canvas was not available. An example of one of his earliest known dated abstracts is an untitled oil on a raincoat fragment from 1954. This work serves as the cover for Sue Canterbury's book, "Beauford Delaney: From New York to Paris", Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2004. Sue Canterbury, Associate Curator of the Dallas Museum of Art, and Stephen Wicks, Curator of the Knoxville Museum of Art, were able to inspect this work when Ms. Canterbury gave her September 2014 lecture on Beauford Delaney in Knoxville. This Beauford Delaney abstract is only the second documented example of his work using canvas available from household objects.

The "pillowcase" abstract, along with the paint cloth and paint stick, sold for $24,180*. The high estimate for this painting was set at $7,000.00.

To see images of the details of the works shown above, click on the hyperlink in the caption of each image.

For more information about the Beauford Delaney paintings (sold and unsold) at Case Antiques, contact:

Sarah Campbell Drury
Vice President of Decorative Arts
Case Antiques, Inc.
Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA)
Telephone: 615-812-6096


*The prices indicated include an 18% 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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dining at Les Mille Colonnes

Colin Gravois, a dear friend of Beauford, was the person who first told me about the restaurant called Les Mille Colonnes in Montparnasse. It was located at the address now occupied by Hôtel Le M, where Beauford's first commemorative plaque was recently installed.

Hôtel Le M façade
© Discover Paris!

Les Mille Colonnes plaque
© Discover Paris!

Colin graciously contributes this brief memoir of the restaurant and the meals that he, Beauford, and other friends shared there:

When I first arrived in Paris in 1968, Les Mille Colonnes (one thousand columns) was the restaurant of choice for people with small or next-to-inexistant budgets living in the Montparnasse area, and it remained our eating place for many years, most often for dinner. It got its name from the outside décor: faux columns in bas relief painted white, with the rest of the outside wall a light blue. The picture below conveys the idea, although the columns were not painted white at the time it was taken. Unfortunately the building was razed in the 1970s to build a hotel.

Les Mille Colonnes circa 1900

The restaurant was only a five-minute walk from the American Center* on boulevard Raspail, where many of us congregated in the afternoon or early evening, and many of the Center’s denizens eventually found themselves there sometime between 6 and 10 PM nightly. Just couldn't be beat!

Mille Colonnes was a huge place, seating at least 300, and it had a gaggle of waiters who scooted around as if on roller skates; we were always impressed how they carried large platters of food with one hand and with all the bustle around them, nary a fall. Another thing that amazed us was how, when exiting the kitchen with a platter of food, they had to stop by a lady at the register and count off the dishes one by one, which she would record under each waiter’s account. (This was to prevent them feeding their friends for free!) That procedure was done so quickly and with such dispatch that it was a sideshow in itself.

We were always impressed by the wait staff. They carried a pencil to write down the order on the paper table covering as you called it out, and then at the end they’d total it all up right before you.

Colin Gravois in front of his portrait painted
by Beauford Delaney (circa late 1960s)
Photo courtesy of Colin Gravois
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Of course, another reason it was a favorite was the prices. Considering the very reasonable cost, the menu was quite varied, with at least 10 or more choices of main dish. The quality was exceedingly high for a restaurant of its kind (at least to our young palates, as someone recently reminded me).

The menu came printed on mimeographed pages - a new one daily - in purple and pinkish ink. I can still remember the exact prices. For slightly less then one dollar you could get a full 3-course meal : hors d’oeuvres and dessert were 0F90 and the mains went for 3F50, totaling 5F30. With the dollar then trading at 5F50, it was quite a deal! If you felt like “splurging,” a ¼-liter carafe of wine was 0F90.

Beauford Delaney lived a few blocks south of the restaurant on rue Vercingétorix, so when he had a few francs to spare he’d usually come in around 6 o’clock. Oft times when we arrived we would find him alone at a table, and we joined him if there was a place for all of us, or asked him to move to our table if we were a larger group. He always was so happy to see us, and many times we’d chip in to pay his dinner. (Beauford wasn’t exactly rolling in cash.) Some times he’d join us afterwards for a coffee at the Raspail Vert* or the Café Select, but mostly he would return to his place. He’d say old people like to go to bed early.


*The Raspail Vert was located at 232, boulevard Raspail. It was down the street from the American Center for Students and Artists, located at 261, boulevard Raspail. Both are now closed.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney - How It All Started

As Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is poised to oversee the installation of a second plaque to honor Beauford in Montparnasse and as we work with Columbia University to mount an exposition of Beauford's work at Reid Hall, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge how this entire, incredible journey toward preserving Beauford's legacy in Paris began.

As I wrote in the second post published on this blog, I discovered the situation regarding Beauford's gravesite while researching an article on African-American gravesites in and around Paris:

Buried at the Parisian municipal cemetery in Thiais, Delaney was laid to rest in what Americans would call a pauper’s grave. His tomb lies in Division 86, an unkempt area where numerous graves are unmarked. Delaney’s grave is recognizable only by a small ceramic flower arrangement.

That article was published in the "Paris Guide" section of the Soul of America Web site. Read it here: AFRICAN-AMERICAN GRAVESITES IN PARIS.

Below is a collage of the gravesites mentioned in the article.

African-American Gravesites in and around Paris
Images and collage © Discover Paris!

Not published in the Soul of America article was an image of Beauford's previously unmarked grave as seen in 2009.

Beauford's unmarked grave - Thiais Cemetery
© Discover Paris!

Work began on the installation of Beauford's tombstone in July 2010. It was completed in August 2010.

Beauford's tombstone - Thiais Cemetery
© Discover Paris!

This summer marks the 5th anniversary of the installation!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Case Antiques Opens Bidding on Three Beauford Delaney Works


On behalf of the Beauford Delaney estate, Case Antiques Auctions & Appraisals of Knoxville, Tennessee has placed three Beauford Delaney works - two watercolors and a lithograph - up for sale in its Summer Fine Art & Antiques auction. Online bidding is now open (see hyperlinks below).

All of the paintings are abstract and date from Beauford's Paris years.

One of the watercolors is painted on both sides of the paper.

Untitled
Watercolor and gouache on paper (recto)
Signed and dated lower right in black ink, "Beauford Delaney 61"
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
Watercolor on paper (verso)
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The front of the painting is dated 1961, which is the last year that Beauford lived in Clamart.

The second watercolor depicts a landscape of meadows and trees in colors of aqua, yellow, orange, greens, blues, brown and black. Beauford may have painted it during his 1971 visit to James Baldwin at Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

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

The lithograph consists of light blue, pink, and green swirl pigments on paper. Case Antiques is calling this an "Afrique Lithography."

Untitled
(ca 1963) Pigments on paper
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Given the approximate date of this work (1963), Beauford likely painted it at his studio at rue Vercingétorix.

The Summer Fine Art & Antiques auction will take place on July 18, 2015.

For more information, contact:

Sarah Campbell Drury
Vice President of Decorative Arts
Case Antiques, Inc.
Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA)
Telephone: 615-812-6096