Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is partnering with the Wells International Foundation (WIF) to take the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition to the U.S.!

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beauford's Art: Reminiscence of the Painting "Portrait of a Young Man (Burton D. Reinfrank)"

I recently had the pleasure of viewing Burt Reinfrank's private collection of Beauford Delaney paintings and was surprised to find this portrait:

Portrait of Burt Reinfrank
(1971) Charcoal on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
© Discover Paris!

hanging next to the color portrait of Burt that I know so well:

Portrait of Burt Reinfrank
(1968) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Photo: © Discover Paris!

Here's the "back story" as told by Burt Reinfrank:

One afternoon in September 1966 I called at Beauford's studio and saw an almost completed portrait on his easel. It was of James Speyer. In the portrait, Speyer wore a yellow turtleneck sweater against a brown background. I passed by the studio a week later and was surprised to see the color of the sweater and that of the background had been reversed. Beauford explained that when Speyer saw the painting, he asked him to reverse the colors.

Portrait of James Speyer
(1966) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I liked the portrait and asked Beauford if he would paint one of me that same size (60 francs). He said yes, if I would bring him the canvas.

In December, I went by an art supply shop in Montparnasse, picked up a canvas, and brought it to Beauford's studio. He immediately put it on his easel, sat me in his "sitters" chair facing the back of the easel, sat down in front, and started drawing in charcoal. He drew for more than an hour, recounting different episodes in his life.

Suddenly he stopped and said, "It's finished. Come have a look."

Photo of Beauford Delaney drawing of Burton Reinfrank
Photo courtesy of Burton Reinfrank

When I saw the drawing, I said: "It's great, keep if for me just as it is. I will bring you another canvas for the painting." But when I came by the studio a week later, the drawing had disappeared under paint.

I said: "Beauford, I wanted the drawing as it was." He replied: "I'll do you another."

He did, a smaller charcoal drawing on canvas in 1971.

Photo of Beauford and Burt Reinfrank
holding his second charcoal portrait
Image courtesy of Burton Reinfrank

At the outset I had told Beauford that what I wanted was a great painting, not necessarily a likeness. Beauford proceeded to paint Portrait of a Young Man (Burton Reinfrank) with no further sitting.

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Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, Reid Hall, and the Wells International Foundation (WIF) are partnering to bring an exhibition of original Beauford Delaney works to Reid Hall in Paris in February 2016! WE VALUE YOUR SUPPORT!

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