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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Beauford's Solo Show at the Paul Facchetti Gallery

Last week's post about the Beauford Delaney memorabilia that Dr. William Dodd is collecting in Philadelphia reminded me that I've wanted to publish an article about the one-man show that Paul Facchetti mounted for Beauford in June 1960.

Beauford's relationship with the Facchettis began in the fall of 1956. They included his work in group shows and bought several works from Beauford between that time and the one-man exposition in June 1960. The show was originally to have been held in May, but delays with the catalog forced postponement until June.

The vernissage (opening) was held on June 21, 1960. Biographer David A. Leeming describes the event in Amazing Grace as follows:

The party was a celebration of Beauford. His Paris friends were there, and a particularly warm joint letter arrived from James Baldwin, Mary Painter, Ellis Wilson, and Palmer Hayden, who were all in New York at the time. Henry Miller wrote an encouraging letter too, as did Brother Joe [Beauford's brother, Joseph Delaney] and many old New York friends. The catalogue included a long excerpt from the Henry Miller article and a short introduction by Julian Alvard, who noted the uniqueness of Delaney's work and admired the ways in which the planes of his paintings appeared in unexpected ways...

Alvard's introduction was highly poetic, referring to Beauford's paintings as "solar" or "cosmic" and stating that Beauford had never given his talent such free rein. Alvard said that radiance, which was in principle, external, had become the essence of Beauford's work.

Beauford at the Paul Facchetti Gallery
© Paul Facchetti

All of the works at this show were abstractions, and reds and yellows were the dominant colors used. The painting shown below appears on the wall at the right of the photo of Beauford at the Facchetti Gallery (above).

(1960) Oil on canvas
36" x 24 1/2"
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Beauford met Professor Ahmed Bioud at this show. He and Beauford became very close and Beauford spent much time with Bioud and his family. The Biouds would take Beauford into their home when Beauford was recovering from his 1961 breakdown and suicide attempt. Beauford would later capture Bioud's likeness in at least two portraits.

Ahmed Bioud, 1964
Oil on canvas
39 1/4" x 32", signed
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York , NY

Though the exhibition was well received, Leeming reports that only two small paintings were sold. Therefore, the Facchettis arranged with Beauford to buy several additional paintings and pay him a monthly allowance for the work.

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