Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford.

Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Henry Miller's 1972 Tribute to Beauford

I am pleased to announce that the Henry Miller lithograph that was donated to Les Amis de Beauford Delaney in support of our fundraising efforts has been sold by Dorothy's Gallery!  Proceeds will offset the cost of the commemorative ceremony at Beauford's gravesite and the reception to be held afterward at the George C. Marshall Center in Paris.  Many thanks to Dorothy Polley, who agreed to sell the work on our behalf!


For the first retrospective exposition that Darthea Speyer mounted for Beauford, she invited several of his friends to write a tribute to him. Following are excerpts from the tribute that Henry Miller wrote about his good friend. It is dated September 26, 1972. The original document is now held at the Smithsonian in the Archives of American Art.

First Paragraph of Henry Miller's Letter of Tribute to Beauford
September 26, 1972
Courtesy of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art

“I think of Beauford Delaney first as a wonderful, amazing and unique human being, a near saint or better than saint, an indidvidual [sic] who has known nothing but adversity, met it squarely, and rendered it null, not through success but by sheer pluck and indomitable fortitude. If he had never painted a picture worth looking at twice he would still be an artist of the first water. He has lived his whole life with but one thought in mind—to paint. Unlike more well-known painters, he has given an ungodly number of his paintings as gifts. He has made many, many friends throughout his career, and he never ceases to make new ones. He is not just a friend, he is the friend, the one who gives his all. Poor though he has been, he has never given the impression of being miserable. He has always given more than he received—that is to say, himself…

“How he has survived these fifteen or twenty years in Paris no one really knows. His hovel in the rue Vercingetorix has become something of a shrine. One opens the door to his tiny quarters and is immediately bathed in light. His paintings glow with bright, vivid colors, rainbow colors. Many of them are portraits, portraits of friends and celebrities, portraits of nobodies. Should you happen to admire one of them he is almost certain to offer it to you as a gift. He never worries about losing a masterpiece. He doesn’t think in terms of masterpieces. For every one that comes off his wall he has a dozen others to replace them…

“I sincerely hope this retrospective exhibition will be not only a comprehensive one but an inspiring one. If it is not a success (financially) Beauford will be none the worse. He lives not on dollars or francs but on faith, and it is a faith that abides. God bless him now and forever!”

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