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, October 21, 2017

Paris, France - A Work on Paper


The Menil Collection* in Houston, TX owns a single Beauford Delaney work - a drawing called Paris, France.


Paris, France

Ink on paper
8 1/4 × 10 9/16 in. (21 × 26.8 cm)
Signed LR: "Beauford Delaney" and inscribed LC: "Paris - France"
The Menil Collection
Gift of William A. and Joan Seeman Robinson
Photograph and Digital Image © The Menil Collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I learned about this piece when I visited the Menil Collection in June 2017 and met curator Michelle White. She told me that it represented a street scene in Paris and said that it was currently archived. She later generously shared this image and asked me to comment on it from the perspective of a Paris resident.

Though my initial point of reference was a Paris street scene, I believe this work is a melange of several themes.

I see several human and abstract forms in the rectangular space that makes up two-thirds of the upper half of the drawing. On the left side, I see structures that could be construed as buildings, even dwellings, but they do not remind me of Paris.

In the bottom half of the drawing, I see a human figure next to the "dwelling" in the lower left corner. Moving my eyes to the right, I see a series of arches that stretch across the length of the work. They immediately bring to mind the viaduct that supports the trains of Metro Line 6 at Pont de Bercy - a bridge that connects the 12th and 13th arrondissements. The viaduct was built in 1904.

Viaduct at Pont de Bercy
2016 Cramos
Creative Commons License

After thoughtful consideration of what this drawing might depict, I shared it with curator Stephen Wicks at the Knoxville Museum of Art (with curator White's permission) and asked him to comment on it. Wicks recently curated a solo exhibition of Beauford's work that included numerous sketches.

He responded as follows:

...this strikes me as one of his [Beauford's] small ink sketches from the mid-1960s. I see 3-4 abstracted figures in the upper center surrounded by architectural elements in the foreground (arches) and left margin (roof lines) that suggest perhaps an open air concert or performance in Montparnasse or thereabouts. As you know, he adored the performing arts and depicted musicians and other performers in many paintings and sketches throughout his career.

Beauford lived in a studio on rue Vercingétorix during the 1960s and 70s. During the early- to mid-1970s, his neighborhood underwent massive renewal - including the demolition of the building that housed his studio. It is quite possible that the buildings and other structures represented in this drawing no longer exist.

*The Menil Collection suffered no damage from Hurricane Harvey.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Brothers' Network Features Les Amis President Monique Y. Wells


Several months ago, Gregory Walker of The Brothers' Network informed me that his godson would be attending graduate school in Paris in the fall. He asked if I'd be willing to share any insights about what his godson could expect as an African-American expatriate and give any recommendations that would make the transition from student life in the U.S. to student life in Paris easier.

Walker is Creative Dirctor of The Brothers' Network - a U.S. organization based in Philadelphia whose mission is to highlight positive contributions and representations of African-American men in creative and instructive ways through the arts. His godson, Anthony Fleet, serves as National Advisory Board Member for The Brothers' Network. Fleet is studying Integrated Marketing and Communication at Northwestern University and spending his last semester of master's-level study at Sciences Po in Paris.

Anthony Fleet at the Seine
Image courtesy of Anthony Fleet

I met Fleet in Paris in early September. Among the things we discussed were his realization that he was one of the few members of the Brothers' Network who had never traveled abroad and his appreciation of the opportunity to complete his graduate studies in Paris.

Fleet has developed a talent for video editing and production as part of his educational pursuits and he extended an invitation to me to be interviewed for The Brothers' Network's monthly editorial publication. He was particularly interested in the work I do to preserve Beauford's legacy and asked me to share the story of why I am so passionate about his life and work. Watch the interview below:



For more information about The Brothers' Network, click HERE.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

What Sold at Swann Auction Galleries' October 2017 African American Fine Art Sale

Five out of eight Beauford Delaney works offered during Swann Auction Galleries' October 2017 African American Fine Art Sale sold.

All four abstract works were purchased:

Untitled (Green Drip Abstraction)
(Lot 40), a gouache on wove paper, sold for $12,500 (including buyer's premium*).

Untitled (Green Drip Abstraction)
(1958) Gouache on wove paper
603x483 mm; 23.75x19 inches
Signed, dated, and inscribed "To Lucien, on his birthday
with affection from Beauford Delaney Paris 1958."
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


Untitled (Brown and Orange Abstraction)
(Lot 41), another gouache on wove paper, sold for $8,125 (including buyer's premium).

Untitled (Brown and Orange Abstraction)
(1958-59) Gouache on wove paper
660x483 mm; 26x20 inches.
Signed and inscribed "To Jimmy with love Beauford Happy Birthday"
in ink, lower center.
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


Untitled (Green, Red and Yellow Abstraction)
(Lot 55), a watercolor on wove paper, sold for $11,875 (including buyer's premium).

Untitled (Green, Red and Yellow Abstraction)
(1964) Watercolor on wove paper
648x502 mm; 25 1/2x19 3/4 inches.
Initialed, dated and inscribed "Paris", in ball point pen and blue ink, lower center.
Signed and dated in ball point pen and blue ink, lower right.
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

And Untitled (Abstract Composition) (Lot 56), another watercolor on wove paper, also sold for $11,875 (including buyer's premium).

Untitled (Abstract Composition)
(1965) Watercolor on wove paper
546x457 mm; 21 1/2x18 inches.
Signed, dated and inscribed "avec amour" in ink.
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The only figurative work that was purchased was Greenhouse at Yaddo (Lot 26).

Greenhouse at Yaddo
(1950) Color pastels on wove paper
457x610 mm; 18x24 inches.
Signed, dated and inscribed "Yaddo" in pastel, lower right.
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It fetched the highest price of all the Beauford Delaney works in this sale - $15,000 (including buyer's premium).

Three portraits remain unsold.

*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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Abstract Works at Swann Auction Galleries' October 2017 Sale

Last week, I presented the four Beauford Delaney figurative works that are being offered during Swann Auction Galleries' Autumn 2017 sale of African-American Fine Art. This week, I am featuring the abstracts.

Untitled (Green Drip Abstraction)
(Lot 40) is a gouache on wove paper.

Untitled (Green Drip Abstraction)
(1958) Gouache on wove paper
603x483 mm; 23.75x19 inches
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It is signed, dated, and inscribed "To Lucien, on his birthday with affection from Beauford Delaney Paris 1958." It is likely that "Lucien" is Lucien Happersberger, lover and lifelong friend of James Baldwin.

The estimated value of this work is $8,000 - $12,000.


Untitled (Brown and Orange Abstraction)
(Lot 41) is also a gouache on wove paper.

Untitled (Brown and Orange Abstraction)
(1958-59) Gouache on wove paper
660x483 mm; 26x20 inches.
Signed and inscribed "To Jimmy with love Beauford Happy Birthday"
in ink, lower center.
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It was a gift from Beauford to James Baldwin for Baldwin's birthday, which was August 2. Baldwin spent a great deal of time with Beauford in Clamart during the summers of 1958 and 1959 - the approximate dates ascribed to this work.

The estimated value of Untitled (Brown and Orange Abstraction) is $8,000 - $12,000.


Untitled (Green, Red and Yellow Abstraction)
(Lot 55) is a watercolor on wove paper.

Untitled (Green, Red and Yellow Abstraction)
(1964) Watercolor on wove paper
648x502 mm; 25 1/2x19 3/4 inches.
Initialed, dated and inscribed "Paris", in ball point pen and blue ink, lower center.
Signed and dated in ball point pen and blue ink, lower right.
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

1964 was a busy year for Beauford. He participated in many group shows as well as a solo exhibition at the Galerie Lambert, in which abstractions and portraits were displayed.

I do not know whether Untitled (Green, Red and Yellow Abstraction) was publicly shown in 1964. Its estimated value is $10,000 - $15,000.

Untitled (Abstract Composition) (Lot 56) is another watercolor on wove paper.

Untitled (Abstract Composition)
(1965) Watercolor on wove paper
546x457 mm; 21 1/2x18 inches.
Signed, dated and inscribed "avec amour" in ink.
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In 1965, Beauford wrote the following about his work in a letter to Henry Miller:

Something has happened to my color and the paintings seem to have sunlight and the feeling sometimes of all you wonderful people it has been my privilege to have as friends and architects of the spirit.

One can easily visualize the brilliant yellow in this work as sunshine filtering through thick foliage, perhaps from the vantage point of a wrought iron grill over a window.

The estimated value of Untitled (Abstract Composition) is $8,000 - $12,000.

The auction will take place at 2:30 PM on Thursday, October 5, 2017. Preview dates are as follows: September 30 from 12-5 PM; October 2 to 4, 10 AM to 6 PM; October 5, 10 AM - noon.

For more information, contact Nigel Freeman at
.