Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford.

Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jim Levis on Beauford Delaney: Internal Light

Jim Levis of Levis Fine Art is the driving force behind the hugely successful opening of Beauford Delaney: Internal Light – the first one-man show of Beauford’s work since the Minneapolis Institute of Art exposition Beauford Delaney from New York to Paris in 2004-2005. A specialist in the art of mid-century modernists, Levis represents the estates of artists of this era who, as innovators are deserving of a serious second look. His clients include the estates of Elaine de Kooning, Budd Hopkins, Maurice Golubov, Walter Plate and now, Beauford Delaney.

Beauford Delaney: Internal Light
Levis Fine Art
Image courtesy of Levis Fine Art

Levis has shown Beauford’s work at his gallery since 2006, when he was offered the opportunity to take four paintings on consignment. He says that Beauford’s œuvre, whether figurative or abstract, engages him and others who view it:

Great art resonates with one’s soul. The way Beauford uses color to capture and reflect light makes his paintings, regardless of palette or subject, enervating. Beauford’s art speaks to me in a profound way and its impact is universal. His paintings echo an energy that was his salvation and when it was beyond his brush, and his reality he struggled terribly until he was able to reconnect with his internal light.

Beauford’s life story adds a huge amount of context and makes interacting with the image more meaningful. He was born into a world where one’s imagination was the key to salvation as his family struggled emotionally, physically and financially. One of 12 siblings, only 4 lived to be adults; one of whom was his treasured brother Joseph, a fellow artist and confident. Beauford also forged relationships with many who were in the arts as well as patrons, including James Baldwin, Larry Calcagno, James Jones, Ahmed Bioud, Henry Miller, Bernard Hassel, Al Hirschfield, Alfred Stieglitz and others. Many of these individuals were not only life long friends and supporters but sitters for his portraits.

According to Levis, roughly 500 people attended the opening and he noted with pleasure that they showed genuine interest in Beauford’s work. Despite the social nature of the occasion, people spent a considerable amount of time looking at the paintings and significant sales were made.

Beyond the “revenue metric,” Levis notes that the “awareness factor” for Beauford’s work seems to be truly blossoming. Several people who attended the May 9th opening and who had never seen more than a few Delaneys in the past have already come back to the gallery for a more in depth viewing. Based on the outpouring of congratulations on the show, Levis is considering organizing follow-up events for focused collectors, scholars, and museums.

Over 30 paintings are currently being exhibited, mostly from the Paris Period between1953-1972 with others in reserve. They have a “pristine provenance” in terms of authenticity and ownership and have been certified by the estate. Beauford Delaney: Internal Light features a mix of abstract and figurative works, with the ratio of the two being roughly 3-to-1. As this is the first of a series of planned expositions, subsequent shows may have a different mix.

Because there was no organized transition plan for Beauford’s work when he died in 1979, many of his paintings were lost, misplaced, mishandled, or misappropriated over the next 25 years. Over the past 6 years, Levis has recommended resources to the estate to aid in their recovery, photography, cataloguing, data-basing, additional scholarship and publication. His reputation of serving other artist’s estates earned him the trust of the Estate Administrator, Derek L. Spratley. Beginning, 2 years ago, the first few paintings were sold for several times the high auction record to serious collectors. Based upon his performance, Levis Fine Art has been selected as Official Representative of the estate, a responsibility that Levis takes quite seriously and acknowledges as a milestone for his firm.

One of Levis’ additional responsibilities is to review and selectively catalog letters from of a treasure trove of Beauford’s “papers” that are held by the estate, independent of the documents held by the Schomburg Center in New York. The estate’s collection of documents provides interesting insights for future scholarship.

While other galleries sell Beauford’s work, Levis Fine Art is currently the only gallery authorized to sell paintings on behalf of Beauford’s estate.

Beauford Delaney: Internal Light will run through June 15, 2013.

Levis Fine Art
514 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
(646) 620-5000
Contact: James Levis

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baldwin Delaney Institute for Academic Enrichment and Faith Flourishing

Dr. E. L. Kornegay, Jr., Beauford Delaney scholar and frequent contributor to the Les Amis blog, shared some phenomenal news with me a few weeks ago - he has founded a not-for-profit institution called the

Baldwin Delaney Institute for Academic Enrichment and Faith Flourishing (BDI)!

E. L. Kornegay, Jr.
Image courtesy of Dr. Kornegay

The mission of BDI is to teach critical thinking and decision making to youth and young adults. Kornegay's curriculum uses literature and the arts in addition to theo-philosophical approaches to critical theory to assist students in re-imagining themselves and the world in which they live. One of the critical aims is to use what Beauford and Baldwin taught the world to guide youth into their vocation and away from violence.

I asked Kornegay why he chose to name the institute after Beauford and Baldwin. He replied:
I chose to name my Institute after James Baldwin and Beauford Delaney to celebrate the importance of the love and respect these two black men had for one another and to honor the genius of their vocations captured in art and literature. Their concern for the safety of youth exemplified in Beauford’s mentoring of Baldwin and Baldwin’s own writing offers a unique molding of humanity that we can all learn from. The “unusual door” is not merely about the acceptance of a sexualized, gendered or racialized self, but the strength to love and live the greatest and truest vision of your being in spite of the unexamined fear and rage which tries to kill it. I want to use the inextricably connected legacies of words, images, and deeds given to us by Baldwin and Delaney to empower the next generation to make the decision to walk through the unusual door where, on the other side, vocation inspires them to live out the brightest vision they have of their lives.

BDI classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, May 20, 2013 with a summer intensive at Chicago Theological Seminary entitled "Baldwin and Christianity." Among the activities planned is a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago to view Beauford's self-portrait and talk about his influence on Baldwin. In preparation, students will be required to read posts from the Les Amis blog.

Oil on canvas (1944)
Art Institute of Chicago
© Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

Projections for future activities include a visit to Paris so that students can walk the streets and visit the haunts that were so important to Baldwin and Beauford.

To learn more about BDI on the Web, visit its pages on Facebook and Google+.

Baldwin Delaney Institute for Academic Enrichment and Faith Flourishing
224 1st Avenue
Maywood, IL 60153
E-mail: .

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Galerie Intemporel

Galerie Intemporel is the only place in Paris where you can find Beauford's work on public display.

Galerie Intemporel
© Discover Paris!

Owned by Laurence Choko, Intemporel was founded in 1998. It is located in the Beaubourg district, only a few blocks from the Pompidou Center. The gallery’s mission is to expose modern and contemporary works of select artists of the African Diaspora. Choko showed Beauford's Portrait of Vasilli Pikoula at Art Basel Miami in 2010.

Two abstract paintings by Beauford currently hang behind the desk at the gallery. I was privileged to stand before them at the recent reception held at the gallery in commemoration of Beauford's dear friend Richard A. Long, where I read from the tribute to Beauford that Richard contributed to this blog in 2010. An image of Beauford's portrait of Richard sat on the desk beside me.

Monique reading at Richard A. Long reception
© Discover Paris!

The blue and burnt orange abstract is an aquarelle dated 1961. The brown and green abstract is an aquarelle and gouache on paper dated 1962.

Beauford's abstracts at Galerie Intemporel
© Discover Paris!

For more information on these works, contact Laurence Choko at:

Galerie Intemporel
37, rue Quincampoix
75004 Paris
Metro: Châtelet or Rambuteau
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 2 PM to 7 PM, or by appointment

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Beauford's New York Expositions

As the opening date for Internal Light, the solo exposition of the Beauford's works at Levis Fine Art* approaches, I am inspired to share some of the venues at which he had his work shown during his New York years. It's an impressive list!

Beauford in his Greene Street studio, New York City, 1944
© Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

Whitney Studio Galleries (now the Whitney Museum of American Art) - February 26 - March 30, 1930

New York Public Library (Harlem branch - now the Schomburg Center) - entire month of May 1930

New York Public Library (Main branch) - May 17-28, 1932

Washington Square Outdoor Exhibit - many times, beginning in 1934

International Art Center Show at the Roerich Museum - 1935

8th Street Playhouse (later to become the theater that featured The Rocky Horror Picture Show for many years) - Autumn 1938

Vendome Art Gallery - January 18 - February 2, 1941

Artists' Gallery (closed in 1962) - May 1948

Roko Gallery - many times, beginning in February 1949

*Levis Fine Art
514 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
(646) 620-5000
Contact: James Levis
Email: jim@levisfineart.com
Opening for Internal Light: May 9, 2013