I recently had a long chat with Tina Dunkley about the seven Beauford Delaney works held by the Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries (CAUAG).
Dunkley, who has directed the galleries since 1994 and is an artist in her own right, had quite an interesting tale to tell about the acquisition of these paintings. They were part of a bequest to the university made by one of Beauford's dearest friends, James Baldwin.
Dr. Richard A. Long informed CAUAG of the bequest at the time that Dunkley was in the midst of renovating the space in which the collections are now shown - the former reading room of the library in Trevor Arnett Hall. Long provided a list of the works to be given to the university, all of which were located at Baldwin's home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in southern France. Beauford spent a great deal of time with Baldwin and other friends at this property, and painted here as well.
Photos courtesy of Professor Francine Allen, Morehouse College
Dunkley began communicating with the attorney of the Baldwin estate about collecting the works in December 1994.
Because Baldwin's will was in probate and was being contested, Dunkley feared that the university might not be able to acquire the works that Baldwin intended it to have. She asked Avery Glize-Kane, the attorney for the estate, whether the art work was part of the contestation. Relieved to learn that the answer was no, she went to Saint-Paul-de-Vence to claim the items that were to be sent to the university. There were thirty-three (33) works on the list that Long provided. Among them were eleven paintings by Beauford. Other artists represented in the bequest included César, Arman, Paul Jenkins, and Henri Baviera.
As Dunkley went through the process of checking the inventory, she discovered that several paintings on the list were not at Baldwin's home. Glize-Kane could not account for what happened to them. Dunkley arranged for the shipment of the works that she could find and returned to the U.S.
In Part 2 of this article, learn what Dunkley found when the shipment arrived in Atlanta.