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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Merry Christmas
from Les Amis de Beauford Delaney!


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan holds a single work by Beauford – a portrait of Stanislas Rodanski:

Stanislas Rodanski
1963 Oil on canvas
Beauford Delaney (1901-1979)
(c) Droits réservés
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
George A. Hearn Fund, 1992

The painting is not currently on display.

The Met loaned this painting to the High Museum of Art for a solo exposition of Beauford’s work entitled The Color Yellow. The description in the catalog indicates that it is a “lively mix of complementary colors (yellow-green against red against ochre and orange paired with a hot yellow) and areas of frenetically painted dashes and daubs.”

Whether Beauford ever met Rodanski is questionable because the surrealist poet was confined to a mental institution in Lyon in 1953 – the same year that Beauford arrived in Paris. Beauford painted Rodanski’s portrait in 1963, which means that he may have relied on a photograph or other likeness of the poet, or perhaps even his memory, to create this work. The Color Yellow catalog notes that “of greater significance than the portrait’s biographical accuracy is its visual luminosity and Delaney’s successful representation of individual perception and sagacity.”

The Color Yellow exposition was shown at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia from February 9 through May 4, 2002; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York from July 10 through-September 15, 2002; the Anacostia Museum in Washington, D.C. from October 11 through December 30, 2002; and the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts from February 8 through May 4, 2003.

The Rodanski portrait also figured among the works displayed in the exposition called Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in Paris, 1945-1965. The catalog for this show describes the portrait as follows:

In a manner similar to that applied to the subject’s colorful jacket, Mr. Rodansky’s forehead and hands have been built up with thick paint in just as many colors, and the background resembles one of the artist’s contemporaneous abstractions.

Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in Paris, 1945-1965 was shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York from January 18 through June 2, 1996, the Illinois: Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago, Illinois from June 29 through August 29, 1996, and the New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans, Louisiana from September 14 through November 10, 1996.

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