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.!

We value your support!

TO MAKE A DONATION, CLICK HERE.
(All or part of your gift through WIF may qualify as a charitable deductible in the U.S.)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

French Elementary School Kids Create Beauford-inspired Art

Following up to the Les Amis blog post about the Classes Duo project that connects elementary schools in Paris and Knoxville, I'm sharing a few images of portraits that the French kids have created after having seen Beauford's art, courtesy of Jean Zay Elementary School.




Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is proud to partner with the Wells International Foundation (WIF) on this project. We have scheduled the first video conference between the Knoxville and Paris children for January 12,2018.

There are less than 48 hours left to make a tax-deductible contribution for 2017.

Give to support WIF and this project by clicking on the following link:

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/wells-international-foundation1/

And have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Beauford and the Wells International Foundation (WIF) . . .

started something big with the University of Arizona when 6 undergraduate students came to Paris in Jan-Feb 2016 to create an Augmented Reality app for the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition.

U of A students taking a selfie
at the Beauford Delaney art exhibition in Paris
Image by Discover Paris!

Five of those 6 students traveled abroad for the first time to work on this project. The trip and Beauford's art changed their lives - all for the better!

Help WIF continue to offer the opportunity for U of A students to travel to Paris through a dedicated internship program - support our drive by clicking here and giving generously today:

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/wells-international-foundation1/

And have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Beauford Unites Elementary School Students in Paris and Knoxville

One of the projects that has emerged from the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition is an amazing collaboration called Classes Duo Paris/Knoxville.

Through a partnership between the Wells International Foundation (WIF) and the City of Paris' CASPE* administrative service, it connects two schools - Jean Zay Elementary School in Paris and Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville, TN - through Beauford's life and art.

On November 20, WIF held the first teleconference for the educators and administrators who will create the lesson plans and handle the logistics of running the program. The students will interact through video conferences and will work on art projects between conferences. They will share their works during the video conferences and on one or more online platforms.

Fourteen (14) students from Jean Zay have been selected to participate in the program. These children are already being inspired by Beauford's paintings to create their own portraits and abstracts.

Jean Zay Elementary School in Paris
© Wells International Foundation

The selection process for the fourteen (14) students from Nature’s Way is underway.

Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville
Photos courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

The educators from both sides of the Atlantic have submitted lesson plans that encompass drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and written correspondence.

Themes to be addressed include places Beauford lived in Paris and Knoxville, several artistic styles that inspired his works, places he traveled and the modes of transportation he used, self-portraiture, and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

For the latter, students from both schools will view images of Beauford's Rosa Parks series of paintings and learn how Beauford followed the movement from Paris.

Rosa Parks
(1967) oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY

They will also learn about key figures in the movement, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. Paris students will be able to visit the Rosa Parks recreation center, the Rosa Parks regional train station, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. park that are located in Paris.

Espace sportif Rosa Parks
© Discover Paris!

Rosa Parks Station - RER E
© Discover Paris!

Parc Clichy Batignolles - Martin Luther King
© Discover Paris!

Jean Zay Elementary School is literally a five-minute walk from what used to be 53, rue Vercingétorix - the location of Beauford's last studio. The students have already been inspired by the proximity of a place so important to the artist they are studying.

The building in which Beauford's studio was located has long since been destroyed. A small plaza has taken its place.

Rue Vercingétorix
© Discover Paris!

In keeping with WIF’s strategy to incorporate as many of its Strategic Focus Areas (SFAs) as possible in its programs and activities, several Classe Duo lessons will encourage the students not only to engage in artistic activities (The Arts), but also to think about science and math (STEAM Education). WIF's Literacy SFA will be incorporated through the letters that the children will write to each other.

To incorporate its Travel/Study Abroad SFA, WIF is planning a travel component through which Knoxville students can visit Paris and Paris students can visit to meet their video/pen pals and see the places where Beauford lived and worked.

For many - if not most - of these children, this will represent their first trip abroad.

The first video conference is scheduled for January 12, 2018.

Watch this blog for updates on how the program progresses!

*CASPE - Circonscription des Affaires Scolaires et de la Petite Enfance

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Beauford at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Newfields)

When Professor Bob Brubaker of Eastern Kentucky University came across this Beauford Delaney abstract at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, he shared this image of it with me:

Untitled (Abstraction I)
(ca. 1960) Oil on prepared fabric
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


The information card displayed with this work describes it as follows:

Pink, red, green, and blue brushstrokes speckle the surface of this painting, with yellow—Beauford Delaney’s signature color—the most visible and topmost layer. The textured canvas, defined by its thick impasto paint, appears to swim in every direction with resounding dynamism and energy.

I was excited to learn that another Midwestern museum is showing Beauford’s work (the Art Institute of Chicago has a stunning self-portrait on permanent display) and contacted the Indianapolis Museum of Art to request details about this and any other Beauford Delaney works they may have.

To date, I have not received a reply.

Professor Brubaker pointed out that the information card for the abstract indicates that the painting is part of the Thompson Collection. Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson own one of the largest and most prestigious collections of African-American art in the world.

Les Amis has presented information in this blog about two additional Beauford Delaney paintings in the Thompson collection:

Distant Horizons

Distant Horizons
(1952) Oil on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

and

Portrait of Imogene Delaney

Portrait of Imogene Delaney
(1963) Oil on canvas
38 ½ x 31 inches
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia
The Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson
Collection of African American Art
GMOA 2011.584
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Les Amis will publish a follow-up to this post when we obtain sufficient information from the Indianapolis Museum of Art (now rebranded as Newfields, a name that covers the museum, its gardens and the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park and Lilly House.)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Beauford's Seated Portrait Paintings

Beauford portrayed many of the subjects of his portraits seated. The angles at which he directs their gaze and positions their bodies, as well as the way in which he depicts their hands, are interesting to compare.

Here are several examples of his seated portrait paintings.

Portrait of Darthea Speyer
(1965) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of Tilley S. Speyer
(1968) Oil on canvas
Carnegie Museum of Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

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

Portrait of Ahmed Bioud
(1964) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of Imogene Delaney
(1963) Oil on canvas
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia
The Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection
of African American Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

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

Portrait of Irene Rose
(1944) Oil on board
45 1/2 in x 35 in
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Photo courtesy of ACA Galleries, New York

Dark Rapture (James Baldwin)
(1941) Oil on board
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of a Man in Green (Colin Gravois)
(undated) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

James Baldwin
(1955) Oil on canvas board
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of Vassili Pikoula
(1970) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Wishing You a Lovely Thanksgiving Weekend!

Les Amis is enjoying the Thanksgiving Day weekend and hope you're doing the same!

We'll be back next week with another anecdote about Beauford's life or a write-up about his art.

Until then, enjoy looking at this beautiful work from the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition that is replete with fall colors.

Untitled
(1970) Mixed media on cardboard
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Have a lovely weekend!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Beauford and Joseph Delaney to Be Honored in Knoxville

As a direct result of inspiration stemming from the two plaques that honor Beauford in the Montparnasse district of Paris, members of the Gathering Light movement in Knoxville have received approval for the installation of a double-sided marker that honors Beauford and his brother Joseph near the original Delaney home.

The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville is the sponsor for the proposed historical marker.

East Tennessee History Center
© Wells International Foundation

The Beck Cultural Exchange Center and the Knoxville Museum of Art are co-sponsors of the request.

Beck Cultural Exchange Center
© Wells International Foundation

Knoxville Museum of Art
© Wells International Foundation

The proposed location for the marker is the corner of E. Summit Hill Drive SE and Patton St (the preferred location) or directly across the street on the opposite side of E. Summit Hill Drive SE.

The placement is as near as the co-sponsors can get to Beauford's birthplace on E. Vine Street, which was destroyed by urban "renewal" between 1959 and 1974.

Proposed location of Delaney marker
Google map

The proposed text that honors Beauford reads as follows:

BEAUFORD DELANEY
1901 – 1979

Beauford Delaney is considered one of the
greatest abstract painters of the 20th century.
Battling poverty, racial prejudice, and mental
illness, he achieved acclaim for his expressive
portraits, cityscapes, and abstractions.
Beauford was an African American artist, one
of ten children born to Delia and John Samuel
Delaney at 815 East Vine Avenue, Knoxville,
near this site, but he spent most of his life in
New York City and Paris, forming lifelong
friendships with James Baldwin, Henry Miller,
and other luminaries. Beauford Delaney is buried
in Cimetière Parisien de Thiais.

The proposed text for Joseph is as follows:

JOSEPH DELANEY
1904 – 1991

Born near this site, African American artist
Joseph Delaney, like his older brother Beauford,
studied under local artist Lloyd Branson. In 1930
Joseph began his studies in New York at the Art
Students League. Joseph spent the next
56 years painting portraits and scenes of
urban life in lower Manhattan. In 1986, he
returned to Knoxville and served as artist in
residence at University of Tennessee until his
death in 1991. His works are in the collection of
the Smithsonian American Art Museum and other
major museums. Joseph Delaney is buried in
Greenwood Cemetery, Knoxville.

Image of a portrait of Joseph Delaney
by Beauford Delaney
in Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney
by David A. Leeming

The co-sponsors hope that the installation will take place in March / April 2018. They have submitted a follow-up request to have a single marker placed for Beauford and a second marker for Joseph on opposite sides of the street. The text for each marker would face oncoming traffic.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Beauford in the New York Times

On a whim, I recently decided to search Google for articles about Beauford in the New York Times.

While he is mentioned in several write-ups about art exhibitions in which his work was / is being shown or acquisitions of his paintings by museums, I found only two articles devoted entirely to his life.

The most recent is the brilliant piece written by Jake Cigainero and published last September:

Beauford Delaney Returns to the Scene


The other is an obituary, published on April 1, 1979. The author was C. Gerald Fraser, a journalist who had worked for the Times for 12 years at the time he wrote the article.

Beauford Delaney, Painter, Dies; Portraitist of the Famous Was 77


An article that comes close to being devoted exclusively to Beauford is Mel Watkins' review of David Leeming's biography, Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney:

Painting Shadows

A piece called Art in Review presents the 1994 Philippe Briet Gallery exhibition of Beauford's work entitled The New York Years (1929-1953). It was written by Roberta Smith.

This online search led me to a newspaper archive search that has 678 entries for Beauford! As time permits, I'll be delving into these articles to see what gems I can uncover and share.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Beauford's Greens

I'll never forget a discussion I led during the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition in February 2016, where the group was contemplating the self-portrait that graces the cover of the exhibition catalog:

We were discussing the fact that Beauford chose to portray himself in green and I stated my belief that he may have chosen that color because he did not feel well at the time he painted the portrait.

Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color
Catalog cover

Artist Loulou Taÿeb, who knew Beauford personally and who painted a portrait of him, was among the visitors in the group. He commented that he thought Beauford painted himself in green because "green is a beautiful color."

Portrait of Beauford Delaney
Loulou Taÿeb
(undated) Oil on canvas
Portrait: © Loulou Taÿeb
Image: © Discover Paris!

From then on, I have paid much closer attention to the greens in Beauford's work. Today, I'm sharing a few images that demonstrate his mastery of the use of this color.

Untitled
(1962) Gouache and watercolor on wove paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire
Court Appointed Administrator
Photo courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Portrait of Jean-Loup Msika (detail)
(1971) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Jean-Loup Msika

Untitled (abstract green drip)
(1958) Gouache on paper
DCMoore Gallery
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of a Young Musician
(1970) Acrylic on canvas
51 x 38 in; 129.5 x 96.5 cm
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Ms. Ogust Delaney Stewart, Knoxville, TN 2004.2.27
Photo: Marc Bernier

Untitled
(1965) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago



Saturday, October 28, 2017

Beauford and the Delaney Family in Jefferson City, Tennessee

Beauford's father, John Samuel (Brother) Delaney, was a Methodist Episcopal preacher and a barber. In 1905, he was called to serve as pastor at the Boyd Chapel Methodist Church in Jefferson City and the entire family moved there - Delaney, his wife, Delia, and their nine children. Beauford was only three or four years old at the time.

David A. Leeming, author of Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, says the following about the family's Jefferson City abode:

Sam was installed as the pastor of the Boyd Chapel Methodist church. His only pay was help with the rent for the "parsonage" the family lived in near the church ... The house was quite small, but it had a large vegetable garden as well as a huge front yard for the young children to play in. This would be home for five years.

Delia Naomi Delaney, the tenth and last of the Delaney siblings, was born in Jefferson City. She died in 1909 at eight months of age.

Photo of the Delaney Family, 1909
Top, left to right: Samuel Emery, John Samuel, Delia
Bottom, left to right: Joseph, Ogust Mae, Beauford, Naomi
Photo from du Closel archive
Image © Discover Paris!

Boyd Chapel recently celebrated its 150th anniversary of existence.

150th Anniversary Celebration Banner
Detail from photo by Standard Banner, Jefferson City, TN

Stephen Wicks, Barbara W. and Bernard E. Bernstein Curator at the Knoxville Museum of Art, was invited to speak at their celebration on September 16. Members of the Delaney family were in the audience.

Stephen Wicks Speaks at 150th Anniversary Celebration
Photo courtesy of Reverend Dr. Andrew Smith,
pastor of Boyd Chapel UMC

Attendees at 150th Anniversary Celebration
Photo courtesy of Reverend Dr. Andrew Smith,
pastor of Boyd Chapel UMC

Stephen Wicks at table (second from left);
Delaney family member in foreground
Photo courtesy of Reverend Dr. Andrew Smith,
pastor of Boyd Chapel UMC

During his presentation, Wicks made the argument that Beauford and his brother Joseph began their artistic paths at Boyd Chapel as they spent time "shaping figures of red clay in the parsonage yard and drawing biblical illustrations on their Sunday school programs."

The Delaney family remained in Jefferson City until 1915, when they returned to their original home at 815 East Vine Street in Knoxville. The building that Boyd Chapel UMC currently occupies was constructed in 1922.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Paris, France - A Work on Paper


The Menil Collection* in Houston, TX owns a single Beauford Delaney work - a drawing called Paris, France.


Paris, France

Ink on paper
8 1/4 × 10 9/16 in. (21 × 26.8 cm)
Signed LR: "Beauford Delaney" and inscribed LC: "Paris - France"
The Menil Collection
Gift of William A. and Joan Seeman Robinson
Photograph and Digital Image © The Menil Collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I learned about this piece when I visited the Menil Collection in June 2017 and met curator Michelle White. She told me that it represented a street scene in Paris and said that it was currently archived. She later generously shared this image and asked me to comment on it from the perspective of a Paris resident.

Though my initial point of reference was a Paris street scene, I believe this work is a melange of several themes.

I see several human and abstract forms in the rectangular space that makes up two-thirds of the upper half of the drawing. On the left side, I see structures that could be construed as buildings, even dwellings, but they do not remind me of Paris.

In the bottom half of the drawing, I see a human figure next to the "dwelling" in the lower left corner. Moving my eyes to the right, I see a series of arches that stretch across the length of the work. They immediately bring to mind the viaduct that supports the trains of Metro Line 6 at Pont de Bercy - a bridge that connects the 12th and 13th arrondissements. The viaduct was built in 1904.

Viaduct at Pont de Bercy
2016 Cramos
Creative Commons License

After thoughtful consideration of what this drawing might depict, I shared it with curator Stephen Wicks at the Knoxville Museum of Art (with curator White's permission) and asked him to comment on it. Wicks recently curated a solo exhibition of Beauford's work that included numerous sketches.

He responded as follows:

...this strikes me as one of his [Beauford's] small ink sketches from the mid-1960s. I see 3-4 abstracted figures in the upper center surrounded by architectural elements in the foreground (arches) and left margin (roof lines) that suggest perhaps an open air concert or performance in Montparnasse or thereabouts. As you know, he adored the performing arts and depicted musicians and other performers in many paintings and sketches throughout his career.

Beauford lived in a studio on rue Vercingétorix during the 1960s and 70s. During the early- to mid-1970s, his neighborhood underwent massive renewal - including the demolition of the building that housed his studio. It is quite possible that the buildings and other structures represented in this drawing no longer exist.

*The Menil Collection suffered no damage from Hurricane Harvey.