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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Where to find Beauford's Art: Swann Galleries

Swann Galleries launched its African-American Fine Art department in 2007. It is the only major auction house conducting regular sales of African-American fine art today. The works that it sells are consigned by individuals, libraries, schools, museums, and dealers the world over.

Since 2007, Swann Galleries has put twenty-eight (28) of Beauford’s paintings up for auction. Over 60% of them sold, with prices ranging from $8,400 to $102,000. Here are a few images of works that sold:

Street Sweeper (Le Balayeur)
(1968) Oil on canvas
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

Swann Galleries describes this painting as “poetic and modernist,” and says that it is a “culmination of Beauford Delaney's important work in both figurative and abstract painting in Paris, and an outstanding example of his later work.” The author of this description considered that Beauford portrayed himself metaphorically in this work as “an isolated man of African descent working in a foreign place, with the broom representing the artist's paint brush.”

Street Sweeper (Le Balayeur) was auctioned in February 2011. The sale price was $96,000.

The painting below was auctioned this month (October 2011). It sold for $9600.

Untitled (Gray, Red and Yellow Abstraction)
(1962) Gouache and watercolor on cream wove paper
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

Swann Galleries' Web site indicates that the auction house acquired this work directly from Beauford’s brother, Joseph. The date of acquisition was not mentioned.

The work below is an abstract expressionist painting in which Beauford’s favorite color – yellow – predominates. The sale value from its auction in February 2008 was $102,000.

(ca. 1958) Oil on canvas
Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries

Additional images of the Beauford Delaney paintings auctioned by Swann Galleries can be found on their Web site. Look for them in the online auction catalogs for February 2007, February 2008, February 2009, February 2010, October 2010, February 2011, and October 2011. In addition, see the catalog for an auction held in June 2010 entitled Out of the Blue: Modern Art and Jazz, where Beauford’s Untitled (Composition in Blue) sold for $19,200.

The prices that you see will see in the catalogs for the works discussed above are lower than those quoted in this article. Swann Galleries' Hillary Brody explained why:

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 on top of the hammer price. Swann's premium is 20%.

Swann Galleries reports the "hammer price" for each painting in its catalogs, while prices that include the buyer's premium can be found on its sales results page.

Swann Galleries’ African-American Fine Art auctions are generally held in February and October of each year. Items that are up for sale can be viewed at the auction house for several days prior to each auction. The auction house encourages any and all interested parties to come to their facility to visit the preview exhibitions.

Swann Galleries
104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
Telephone: 212-254-4710

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where to Find Beauford's Art: New England

If you live in New England, or are planning a visit there, note that you can see works by Beauford at the following museums:

Worcester Art Museum - Worcester, Massachusetts
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art - Hartford, Connecticut
Bowdoin College Museum of Art - Brunswick, Maine

The Worcester Art Museum holds a portrait entitled Portrait of Gaylord. It is on view in the Rose Gallery on the fourth floor of the museum.

Portrait of Gaylord
(1944) Oil on canvas mounted on artist board

Here is the description of the painting furnished by the museum:

When Beauford Delaney moved to New York City in 1929 he quickly fell in with the writers and artists of the time including Charles Alston, Henry Miller, James Baldwin, and musicians Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Marian Anderson. Throughout his life he painted portraits of the friends he had made, though the identity of some, including Gaylord in this painting, remains a mystery. Gaylord is thought to have been a musician, a pianist with two fingers missing on one hand, who played at a club that Beauford frequented. To the right of Gaylord’s face is an image of a piano player, perhaps Gaylord himself, while on the left is a figure, possibly Delaney, standing in front of an easel. This work, with its bright colors and swirled brushstrokes is reminiscent of one of Delaney’s main influences: Vincent van Gogh.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art owns an abstract expressionist painting by Beauford that it currently holds in storage.

Untitled (Green)
(1961) Oil on canvas

This work was selected to be shown in the exposition The Color Yellow, mounted by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia in 2002. The exhibit traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Anacostia Museum and Center for African History and Culture at the Smithsonian, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. The Wadsworth Atheneum museum describes it as “an abstracted composition of pink and green swirls.”

Those wishing to see this painting should contact Patricia Hickson, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum museum.

The work owned by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art is an abstract expressionist painting that was given to the museum by halley k. harrisburg (alumma of Bowdoin, Class of 1990) and Michael Rosenfeld. It is not currently on view.

(1960) Oil on canvas

I will update this posting when I am able to obtain further information about the paintings at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Celebrating Beauford - 1st Anniversary!

On Friday, October 14, 2011, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney hosted a small gathering to mark the first anniversary of the gravesite ceremony and reception that celebrated the laying of the tombstone at Beauford’s eternal home at Thiais Cemetery. Several friends gathered at the Select Café in Montparnasse to share food and drink and to honor Beauford’s memory. The Select was one of Beauford’s favorite cafés in Montparnasse.

Select Café
© Discover Paris!

U.S. Ambassador Charles Rivkin extended his regrets, as he was out of the country and could not join the festivities. Last year he wrote a strong letter of support for the Beauford Delaney Gravesite Project when Les Amis was in the midst of its fundraising campaign.

Velma Bury, advisor to Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, spoke briefly about Ed Clark, a great friend of Beauford. Like Beauford, Ed often frequented the Select.

The Reverend Doctor Scott Herr, who presided at the gravesite ceremony last year, spent part of the evening with us.

I hope you’ll enjoy these photos that were taken at the event.

Beauford spies the pain surprise
© Discover Paris!

The gathering
© Discover Paris!

Velma Bury addressing the crowd
© Discover Paris!

Listening attentively
© Discover Paris!

Monique addressing the crowd
© Discover Paris!

James Morant and Reverend Scott Herr
© Discover Paris!

Monique and Beauford calling it a night!
© Discover Paris!

Visit the Entrée to Black Paris Facebook page to see the complete photo album!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Museums in the Tri-state Area

Those living in the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware) will be pleased to learn that there are three museums that hold works by Beauford!

I've already presented the portrait of James Baldwin at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in a recent posting. There is a second painting by Beauford at this museum as well. It is an oil-on-canvas portrait of two women named Marian and Betty. Though neither painting is currently being displayed, you can get a close-up view of them on the PMA Web site by clicking on the hyperlinks in this paragraph.

There are two pieces at the Newark Museum: The Burning Bush (1941) and Portrait of a Man (1943).

The Burning Bush
(1941) Oil on paperboard

Portrait of a Man
(1943) Pastel on paper

Only The Burning Bush is currently displayed for public view. It can be found in the American Art section. The museum provided the following description of it:

The Burning Bush deals with the biblical subject from the Book of Exodus. This multicolored painting has a wonderful expressive style that vibrantly evokes the underlying energies animating this subject. The paint is applied very thickly on the surface, which may not come across in the photographs.

If you would like to arrange a private viewing Portrait of a Man, you may make a request in advance of your visit. The museum makes every effort to accommodate various scholars and individuals. The staff needs to know the reason and the nature of inquiry of every individual so that it can better serve you.

The Delaware Art Museum holds a Delaney on reserve. It was given to the museum by Michael Rosenfeld in 1995.

(1961) Oil on canvas

The museum provides this description:

This 1961 painting was produced in Paris. It is inscribed “pour mon frère M. Bigud [?]” and bears the label of Paul Facchetti’s Paris gallery. Like many of Delaney’s paintings from this period, it features subtly modulated color and active brushwork. The small canvas is covered from edge to edge in shades of yellow, white, and pale green. From a distance, it seems to resolve into a pattern, but, as the viewer approaches, the artist’s delicate touch becomes apparent. In some areas, the weave of the canvas is exposed, while in others thick, scumbled paint projects from the surface. With its monochromatic palette, active surface, and all-over composition, this painting fits comfortably into the abstract expressionist idiom.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

The Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (MRG) has the most extensive collection of Beauford's work in the world today. As I've previously reported in this blog, MRG frequently presents Beauford's paintings in its expositions, and has mounted two solo exhibits of his work. The gallery was a major contributor to the Beauford Delaney Gravesite Project, and provided the donation that allowed Les Amis to reach its fundraising goal.

In its current exposition entitled Evolution in Action, MRG presents "art pairings" of works created by several of its preferred artists, where an early painting by each artist is juxtaposed with a later painting that represents that artist's "signature" style. The gallery has selected the paintings below to compare Beauford's earlier work with that of the abstract expressionist work of his later years.

Beauford Delaney (1901-1979)
(1945) Oil on canvas
25" x 30", signed
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

Beauford Delaney (1901-1979)
(1963) Oil on canvas
39 1/2" x 32", signed and dated
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

MRG describes these two paintings as follows:
The bright yellow lemons of Delaney's untitled still life (1945) provide the inspiration for the vibrant yellows and soft blues and greens that make up his untitled abstraction from 1963; a subsequent glance back at the lemons then reveals that Delaney's treatment of color was always complex, that he always saw and was able to reveal the variety of shades, tones, and hues within what seemed to be a single color.

Visit the gallery to see and appreciate these works! Evolution in Action is on view until October 29, 2011.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
24 West 57th Street, 7th floor
New York, NY 10019
Tel: 212-247-0082
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10 AM - 6 PM; Mondays by appointment

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