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Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Saw Beauford Delaney Today - Part 2

Last week, I brought you Part 1 of an article about artist Maureen Kelleher and her passion for James Baldwin and Beauford Delaney. Part 2 is below.


Kelleher admits that she knows little about Beauford other than his relationship with Baldwin. She knows very little about the extent of his oeuvre, but she likes the boldness, colors, and big strokes that Beauford was so fond of using. She is familiar with only one of the portraits that Beauford painted of Baldwin – the one that is owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

It’s the only one I know about, and I love it. It is beautiful. Delaney captured Baldwin’s grace and vulnerability. And beautiful colors, style. I feel/see strength in Delaney’s technique.

Portrait of James Baldwin
(1945) Oil on canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Kelleher used this painting as the inspiration for Note Board, the companion piece for I Saw Beauford Delaney Today.

Artist’s note board for: I Saw Beauford Delaney Today
Maureen Kelleher
(2008) Mixed Media
Photo courtesy of Maureen Kelleher

Maureen relates the story of the creation of Note Board as follows:

A woman I met on the train, [we had time to talk; the train died on the tracks, and we were stuck outside The Bronx for a couple hours, then we had to get on another train they sent to ‘rescue us”] -- unexpectedly sent me a large poster. The poster advertised a show of Beauford’s work at a museum in Philadelphia, (I think).

She remembered our talking about Baldwin, so (how wonderful for me!) she sent me the poster. When I saw the poster, and, of course, Delaney’s painting of Baldwin, I thought of using the painting for something in my work. I think I had the piece about Delaney and Baldwin done when I received the poster. Then I decided to make the accompanying note board. I knew I wanted to include Delaney’s painting of Baldwin, somehow, in my work on Baldwin. It makes total sense (to me!) that the piece, Delaney’s painting, would be included in my piece about Baldwin & Delaney’s friendship. Delaney’s painting of Baldwin is the most perfect representation of their friendship and friendship is the theme of my piece, I SAW BEAUFORD DELANEY TODAY.

Of course, Baldwin probably wrote about Delaney, but I’ve yet to get to that project and research that (so much to do! so little time!).

Clearly, each artist memorialized the friendship in his own medium. Wonderful.

To view Maureen Kelleher’s works, visit her Web sites at
www.mkelleherart(dot)com and www.beanartbean(dot)com. To watch her video, click here: Maureen Kelleher Studio Visit.

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