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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beauford's Works at Christie's Paris -- The Auction

Christie's Paris
© Discover Paris!

The auction of the Darthea Speyer collection at Christie's Paris took place on Wednesday, 7 July 2010. Six Delaney paintings were among the 432 works sold.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see Beauford's works at Christie's before the auction. The photo below shows the portraits as they were displayed in the Salon Matignon IV.

Beauford's Portraits at Christie's Paris
© Discover Paris!

The two abstractions were harder to photograph due to their placement in the hallway outside Salon Matignon IV, where there was terrible glare as well as unavoidable reflections. 

(not dated) Pastel on paper
© Discover Paris!

Untitled (dedicated to Darthea Speyer)
(1961) Ink, inkwash, and aquarelle on paper
© Discover Paris!

The ink, inkwash, and aquarelle painting is dated 1961, not 1981 as reported in the catalog. In last week's posting, I noted that either a mistake had been made in the catalog's notation (Beauford died in 1979), or he was unaware of the year when he created the painting (he had suffered a severe mental crisis several weeks prior to painting it). The former is true - the label text posted next to the painting at Christie's had been corrected by hand.

Signature for Untitled (dedicated to Darthea Speyer)
(1961) Ink, inkwash, and aquarelle on paper
© Discover Paris!

Label for Untitled (dedicated to Darthea Speyer)
(1961) Ink, inkwash, and aquarelle on paper
© Discover Paris!

In last week's posting and in the one called Beauford at Galerie Darthea Speyer, I reported that the Beauford Delaney paintings held by Galerie Darthea Speyer would be donated to the Smithsonian.  I now have clarification on this issue - Mme Emmanuelle Gelzer-Remy, a former employee of the gallery, has informed me that only the gallery's documents related to Beauford have been donated to the Smithsonian Institution Archives.  The paintings were held by Christie's, until today's sale.

 Salle James Christie (auction room) at Christie's Paris
© Discover Paris!

As for the auction itself, Beauford's works went very quickly.  It was apparent that people were prepared to bid on them ahead of time, because most of the bids came in by phone or Internet.  Beauford's untitled pastel commanded the greatest price – 10,000 euros / ~$12,500.  His portrait of Jean Genet sold for 8,500 euros / ~$10,625.  The ink, ink wash, and aquarelle went for 7,000 euros / ~$8,750, and the other portraits sold for 6500 euros to 7500 euros (~$8125 to $9375).  The sale of all six pieces took only ten minutes!


lotusmoss said...


I just wanted to update you on the aquisition of the Beauford Delaney records by the Smithsonian. They were actually acquired by the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art (AAA), not by the Smithsonian Institution Archives (different units within the Smithsonian). The AAA collects, preserves, and makes available for study the documentation of American artists, while the Smithsonian Institution Archives focuses on the history of the Smithsonian institution itself. Just wanted to clarify in case your readers come searching for the records.

A very exciting acquisition nonetheless!

Catherine Shteynberg
Smithsonian Institution Archives

About Beauford Delaney said...

Dear Catherine,

Thanks very much for this clarification!