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.!

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Amazing Grace is Yellow - A Play


Beauford is in the air!

An increasing number of projects and programs on both sides of the Atlantic are serving to honor him and extend his legacy. These include the Gathering Light project in Knoxville, Tennessee and the Classes Duo program that connects elementary school students in Paris, France and Knoxville through Beauford’s life and art.

The latest project to emerge in France is Amazing Grace is Yellow – the life of Beauford Delaney, painter. This play, written by Silver Wainhouse, will bring Beauford’s life to the stage in three acts that follow him from Knoxville to Paris.

Background - Detail from Untitled
(circa 1960) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

An excerpt from the play’s introduction reads as follows:
Amazing Grace is Yellow was inspired when, during a conversation with Dr. Monique Wells about the life of Beauford Delaney, I said that his life should be presented in a play. She replied, “Why don’t you write it?” This play is the result of my having undertaken her challenge. Beauford Delaney is a beautiful haunt prodding all who take time to explore his richness, complexities, and beauty to make known his contribution to art.
Not surprisingly, the main characters in the play include James Baldwin

Collage of Portraits of James Baldwin by Beauford Delaney
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
Individual images reproduced
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

and Beauford’s mother, Delia.

Delia Delaney
(1933) Pastel on paper
Knoxville Museum of Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Eleven additional characters, fictional and real, named and unnamed, round out the cast.

In preparation for a full stage production, a reading of Amazing Grace is Yellow has been scheduled at Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Reid Hall, on October 16, 2019. Casting for the play is currently underway.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Beauford and "The Rhythm of New York"

In the book entitled Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America, author Jacqueline Francis devotes roughly two pages of text to Beauford's work from the early New York years in her chapter on "Type/Face/Mask: Racial Portraiture." She cites a quote that Beauford gave to the New York Telegraph in a 1930 interview:

"I never drew a decent thing until I felt the rhythm of New York. New York has a rhythm as distinct as the beating of a human heart. And I'm trying to put it on canvas..."

Today I'm sharing images of a few of the paintings Beauford created in the years subsequent to this interview to capture the landscape of New York.

Greene Street
(1940) Oil on canvas
Image by André Moran from the Artsmia Web site
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Greenwich Village
(1945) Oil on canvas
Image by Manu Sasoonian, from Amazing Grace
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Exchange Place
(1943) Oil on panel
Image Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York , NY
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled (Washington Square Park)
(1952) Oil on canvas
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Minneapolis Institute of Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled (Trees)
(c. 1945) Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Beauford at the Galerie Prismes

According to biographer David Leeming, Beauford had his first solo show at the Galerie Prismes in May 1956. Leeming describes the works as being "abstractions marked by large areas of paint applied thickly in swirls and various colors - blues, pinks, softer colors than those of the Greene Street period." He remarks that these paintings may represent a transition between Beauford's use of "Fauve-like coloration" in his New York paintings and the use of "tightly textured, less varied coloration" during his Paris years.

"...paint applied thickly in swirls and various colors..." implies that the abstractions from the Galerie Prismes show were done with oils.

Composition 16 is a painting that fits this description, but I do not know that it was shown at the Galerie Prismes.

Composition 16
(1954-1956) Oil on canvas
Museum of Modern Art, New York City
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

While I have no additional images of oil paintings from 1955 / 1956 that fit this description, I am sharing below images of two works on paper that Beauford created during this period. Effectively, the coloring is softer in these works.

Untitled
(1956) Watercolor on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Abstract Circles
(1956) Pastel on paper
Knoxville Museum of Art
Knoxville, Tennessee
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Beauford's work was also included in a group show called L'Insurréction Contre La Forme at Galerie Prismes in June 1957. The gallery was located at 6, rue Monsieur-le-Prince in the 6th arrondissement.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Student-Parent Reception for Classes Duo Art Exhibition at KMA

On April 6, I posted an article about the Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville exhibition that is being shown at the Knoxville Museum of Art:

KMA Mounts Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville Exhibition


This week, I'm pleased to share some of the photos taken at the Student-Parent reception, held on Sunday, April 28.

Knoxville Classes Duo Students and art teacher Dawn Kunkel
Image courtesy of Dawn Kunkel

Around the refreshment table
Image courtesy of Dawn Kunkel

Students Chloe and Sarah admire refreshments
Image courtesy of Mary Campbell

The students' works shown were inspired by Beauford's Les Embruns, Greece, Untitled (Trees), and the self-portrait that graces the cover of the 2016 Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color catalog.

Resonance of Form catalog cover

Jean Zay student portraits of Beauford
Image courtesy of Mary Campbell

Additional works represent portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., created during Black History Month 2018.

Nature's Way student portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Image courtesy of Mary Campbell

The exhibition will be available for viewing for several additional weeks (closing date: June 23). KMA's executive director, David Butler, is pleased to report that the show is drawing many visitors.

To see additional photos, visit the gallery on the Wells International Foundation's Web site:

KMA Art Exhibition

Enjoy!