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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Walker Art Center in Minneapolis Acquires a Beauford Delaney Painting

Thanks to Milo Bosh of BlackArtistNews.com, I learned of the recent acquisition of a Beauford Delaney painting by Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Walker associate curator Eric Crosby granted Les Amis the following interview about the painting.

(circa 1970) Oil on canvas
Collection Walker Art Center
Gift of the Kunin Family, 2014
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Les Amis: How long has Walker Art Center been "in the market" for a Beauford Delaney painting?

Eric Crosby: This is the first work by Beauford Delaney to enter the permanent collection of the Walker Art Center, and it has come to us as a very generous gift of the Kunin Family. The piece, which is an untitled painting from circa 1970, fills a significant gap in the institution’s painting collection. Past curators at the Walker as well as those currently on staff have been familiar with Delaney’s work for a long time, and this has been a rare acquisition opportunity indeed!

Les Amis: What are the other abstract expressionist works in the collection with which Beauford's work dovetails?

Eric Crosby: As an excellent example of the artist’s abstract expressionist work, it dovetails beautifully with a number of key abstract expressionist paintings already in the collection. Among them are Barnett Newman’s The Third (1962), Mark Rothko’s No. 2 (1963), Robert Motherwell’s Untitled (Iberia)(1958), Clyfford Still’s untitled (1950-C) (1950), Joan Mitchell’s Painting 1953 (1953), and many others. This important Delaney canvas will certainly become a mainstay of our future collection installations, especially those that seek to contextualize mid-century abstraction.

Les Amis: What is the provenance of the painting prior to being added to the Regis collection?

Eric Crosby: Our current understanding of the painting’s ownership history is as follows:
  • Estate of the artist, Paris, France
  • Joseph Delaney, Knoxville, TN
  • The Delaney Estate, Knoxville, TN
  • Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, NYC
  • Myron Kunin Collection, Minneapolis
  • Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Les Amis: Does Walker Art Center plan to acquire additional works by Beauford?

Eric Crosby: We are always looking to expand the Walker’s holdings of works by artists collected in depth. Since this is the first work by Beauford Delaney to enter the collection, we look forward to researching the painting and exploring opportunities to contextualize it further. This canvas represents just one facet of this influential painter’s decades of work.

Les Amis: Is the painting currently on display? If so, in which room?

Eric Crosby: Yes, the work is currently on view through August 2 in the 75 Gifts for 75 Years exhibition in the Target and Friedman Galleries.

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