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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beauford's Distant Horizons at Georgia Museum of Art's Expanding Tradition Exhibition

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens is currently showing nearly 60 works by African-American artists in the exhibition Expanding Tradition: Selections from the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection.

Among them is Beauford's 1952 abstract, Distant Horizons.

Distant Horizons
(1952) Oil on canvas
15.75 X 19.74 in.
Signed and dated at lower left
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This painting was shown in From New York to Paris, the exhibition organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2004-2005 and in the Higher Ground exhibition organized by the Knoxville Museum of Art in 2014.

From the From New York to Paris exhibition catalog, we learn that:

In June of 1953, Carl Leeds won this painting at a raffle: "At some point during the summer, Delaney's friends gathered at a fund-raiser organized by the Roko Gallery to help finance the artist's trip abroad. The donation box appropriately was built in the shape of a boat, with each contributor getting a chance at a lottery. The door prize, like the donation box, was rife with symbolic significance, being Delaney's painting titled Distant Horizons."

Beauford had his final solo show at the Roko Gallery in January 1953 and participated in a group show there in April 1953. In preparation for his trip to Paris, he left many of his paintings at the gallery and left others in his loft at 713 Broadway.

Carl Leeds owned Distant Horizons for 55 years until his passing in 2007. It was subsequently acquired by Robert Abramson of New York and entered the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection when the Thompsons purchased it from Swann Auction Galleries in 2009.

About the style in which Beauford painted Distant Horizons, Patricia Sue Canterbury says that Beauford was
...moving in an increasingly abstract direction where suggestion supplants illustration and the background becomes secondary to the central figures.

Expanding Tradition is the inaugural exhibition for Shawnya Harris, the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art. It is on view from January 28 to May 7, 2017.

Georgia Museum of Art
90 Carlton Street
Athens, GA 30602-1502
Telephone: 706-542-4662
Internet: georgiamuseum.org

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