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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Beauford and Howard Swanson

The Museum of Modern Art in New York holds two works by Beauford, one of which is a portrait of his dear friend, Howard Swanson:

Portrait of Howard Swanson
(1967) Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Levis Fine Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Howard Swanson was an acclaimed composer who received grants and fellowships that allowed him to travel to Europe before and after the Second World War. In 1952, awards from the National Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship enabled him to settle in Paris a year before Beauford's arrival. He remained in Europe until 1966, when he returned to New York.

Swanson is mentioned nine times in Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney. Biographer David Leeming describes him as a "source of good counsel and friendship" and says that Beauford frequently shared meals with him and could talk with him more freely than with most people. Swanson was present at the gathering organized by Beauford at the Hôtel des Ecoles in December 1955, which resulted in a conflict with the hotel's owners that caused Beauford to move to the Paris suburb of Clamart.

Beauford's Portrait of Howard Swanson was shown in the 1973 solo exhibition of Beauford's work at the Galerie Darthea Speyer in Paris. More recently, it was shown in the Internal Light exhibition at Levis Fine Arts in 2013 and was acquired by MoMA in 2013.


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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