You may remember the name Dorothy Polley from blog postings that I published during 2010. Dorothy’s Gallery generously donated twice to the Beauford Delaney Gravesite Project – first from funds from her gallery itself and then from the proceeds of the sale of a Henry Miller work entitled Sarasota.
Dorothy first became interested in Beauford’s story as a “cause” in which to participate to help preserve the legacy of an American painter. As she organized the sale of Henry Miller’s works for this cause, she discovered Miller’s love for Beauford and developed an interest in him as well. She envisioned having some of Beauford’s work hanging beside Miller’s paintings at the gallery.
© Discover Paris!
While organizing the exhibit of Henry Miller’s work, Dorothy discovered a television documentary of Miller’s visit to Paris for his 80th birthday. Part of this film, entitled Henry Miller Odyssey, was shot in Beauford’s studio on rue Vercingétorix, where she could see Beauford and hear him speak for the first time. She could also see the paintings that hung on the walls of the studio at the time the documentary was filmed. As she learned more about his life and his persona, she decided that Beauford’s work deserved to be shown again in Paris.
Dorothy is a great admirer of James Baldwin, and when she learned what a profound effect Beauford had on Baldwin, she became even more determined to delve deeper into Beauford’s work and to find a way to organize a show featuring his paintings.
When I asked her what draws her to Beauford’s work, Dorothy responded that in painting, portraits have always had a profound effect on her. She finds that Beauford’s portraiture creates an aura of emotion that draws the viewer into the work. Because she likes to show artists who paint in a variety of styles and have a special sense of color, she finds Beauford’s portraits particularly appealing. When I asked Dorothy what she likes about Beauford’s abstracts, she that she was drawn above all to the movement in these paintings, and again, to the profound and poetic sense of color in them.
G. R. N’Namdi Gallery
(1964) Pastel on paper
Dorothy is now studying her options for mounting a show that features Beauford. Given that his works are scattered and difficult to obtain, her task will not be an easy one. Possibilities include inviting galleries that possess his works to share an exposition at Dorothy’s Gallery, where she could also hang works of other African-American artists who live or lived in Paris. This would be an exposition of “African-American Artists in Paris – Then and Now.” Alternatively, Dorothy could mount a “museum-type” show at another location in Paris where works would only be on display and not for sale.
I am very pleased that Dorothy’s Gallery is considering hosting an exposition. I stated in my blog posting of November 24, 2010 that instigating an exposition of Beauford’s work in Paris is something that I thought Les Amis de Beauford Delaney might undertake. We have now taken the first small steps in this direction! In future postings on this blog, I will keep you informed of how things are progressing.
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