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, November 17, 2018

Phillips Sells Second Delaney Abstract

Phillips sold a Beauford Delaney abstract for $150,000 during its "New Now" sale on September 26, 2018.

Untitled
Signed, inscribed and dated "Beauford Delaney Paris 1965 midday" on the reverse
(1965) Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 21 in. (64.8 x 53.3 cm.)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

On November 14, 2018, it sold a second abstract for $118,750.

Untitled
(1967) Oil on canvas
21 3/4 x 18 in. (55.2 x 45.7 cm.)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated sale price for both works was $20,000 to $30,000.

Results from several additional sales show that buyers consider Beauford's work to be worth far more than the prices listed by the auction houses:

Clarke Auctioneers set a record for the sale of Beauford's work when it sold Street Scene for $176,250 at its 5th Annual Fine Art Sale on October 27, 2008. Clarke estimated that the painting would sell for $30,000 to $50,000.

For its Regard sur le XXe siècle #5 Art contemporain & Design sale on April 5, 2014, De Baecque estimated that an untitled oil signed and dedicated "Bon Nassainie Hovard" on the back of the canvas would sell for 600€ to 800€. It sold for 17,000€.

On June 21, 2018, Paysage, 1951 (oilstick on paper) sold for 64,500€ during Cornette de Saint Cyr's Art Contemporain - Art Africain Contemporain sale. Its estimated sale price was 3,000€ to 5,000€.

Two recent sales at Swann Auction Galleries are other examples. Untitled (African Figure) sold for $173,000 at the October 2018 African American Fine Art auction when its estimated sale price was $40,000 to $60,000.

And Untitled (Village Street Scene) sold for $557,000 at Swann's April 2018 African American Fine Art auction when its estimated sale price was $150,000 - $250,000. This sale broke the record set by Clarke in 2008.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Beauford Moves to New York City

Beauford moved from Boston to New York City in early November 1929. His first stop was Harlem.

Because of a scandalous incident at a rooming house, he lost his belongings - including his portfolio of paintings - within a matter of hours.

Next, he went to Union Square.

"Manhattan: Union Square (East) - 17th Street (East)." 1929.
Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History,
Local History and Genealogy,
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library Digital Collections
(Free use)

The stock market had crashed only days earlier and Beauford witnessed the effect of the crash in the faces and movements of the people milling about the square. He spent his first night on a park bench there and his shoes were stolen while he slept. This was the inauspicious beginning to his twenty-three years in the city.

The next day, Beauford's fortunes reversed considerably. He visited a painter to whom he had been referred by a friend in Boston. This man organized a job interview for Beauford and referred him to someone who could help him find lodging. This resulted in a bellhop position at the Grand Hotel and a room at 241 W 111th Street, just north of Central Park.

"Grand Hotel, (Broadway and 31st Street)."
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs:
Photography Collection, The New York Public Library.
The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
(Free use)

He soon found additional work at Billy Pierce's Dancing School at 225 W 46th Street, near Radio City Music Hall, where he created pastel and charcoal portraits of the school's clients. The Baltimore Afro-American called Pierce's school "the largest studio for stage dancing in the world."

Ad for Billy Pierce's Dancing School

The same painter who helped Beauford find the bellhop position at the Grand Hotel suggested that he pay a visit to the Whitney Studio Galleries and meet Miss Mungo Park. This led to the offer of a slot in a four person show of "Sunday painters" at the galleries, which in turn led to a new job and a studio and living quarters on the premises.

The Whitney show was Beauford's first "big break" in New York with regard to exhibiting his work publicly.

*****

News flash: A Georgia O'Keeffe portrait of Beauford is going to be auctioned by Christie's on November 13. Beauford met O'Keeffe during his New York years. Read the article about the Christie's sale here:

https://www.culturetype.com/2018/11/09/georgia-okeeffe-made-5-portraits-of-beauford-delaney-1-is-for-sale-at-christies/

Read about O'Keeffe's portraits of Beauford here:

https://lesamisdebeauforddelaney.blogspot.com/2010/08/beauford-georgia-okeeffe-portraits.html


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Untitled Yellow Abstract for Auction at Phillips

Phillips (London and New York) is holding a 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale in New York City on November 14, 2018. During the morning session, the Beauford Delaney abstract shown below will be up for auction.

Untitled
(1967) Oil on canvas
21 3/4 x 18 in. (55.2 x 45.7 cm.)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The notes on the sales page indicate that Beauford created this work in 1967 and that the current owner received the painting from Larry Calcagno.

In a letter that Beauford wrote to Calcagno in August of that year, he talks of the "amazingly beautiful" light that he experienced during a recent visit to Carcassonne and Narbonne with a friend. He shares that though returning to Paris was difficult, some of the sun and light that he saw during the trip appeared in his canvases. He also says:

... there has been a flow and release in me which has entered my work. I feel happy to announce this to you ... While the number of canvases are modest in number [sic] they have come from the source.

While there is no indication as to when during the year Beauford painted Untitled, one can well imagine that he created this work in the aftermath of the trip he described. Small splotches of blue and gray and green seem to peek out through shining white overlaid by a juxtaposition of bold and soft yellows highlighted with rose or peach. The cooler pigments are no match for the power and radiance of the light that he represents with yellow and white.

The estimated sale price for Untitled is $20,000 to $30,000. But collectors who looking to acquire Beauford's work need to be prepared to spend considerably more for this painting.

For its "New Now" sale on September 26, 2018, Phillips estimated that another of Beauford's yellow abstracts, painted in 1965, would sell in the same price range.

Untitled
Signed, inscribed and dated "Beauford Delaney Paris 1965 midday" on the reverse
(1965) Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 21 in. (64.8 x 53.3 cm.)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It fetched a handsome $150,000 (including a 25% buyer's premium*).

To request additional information about the 1967 painting or to register to bid during the November 14 auction, click on the following link: Lot 208: BEAUFORD DELANEY - Untitled

*At auction, there are two prices--the hammer price, or the price at which the item sells during the auction, and the price with the buyer's premium. All auction houses have a buyer's premium that the buyer pays to the auction house in addition to the hammer price.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Beauford at the 2018 Carnegie International

Beauford's Portrait of Tillie S. Speyer is currently on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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

It was selected by Cameroon-born, Senegal-based independent exhibition-maker Koyo Kouoh to be a part of "Dig Where You Stand," a show-within-a-show organized for the 2018 Carnegie International exhibition. Kouoh perused the collections of the Carnegie Museum and the neighboring Natural History Museum for her exhibition, which journalist Andrew Russeth calls "a Wunderkammer of art and artifacts focused on labor, colonialism, and depictions of power." She has placed Beauford's portrait of Speyer between a photograph of a young Queen Elizabeth II and one of Puerto Rican lacemakers.

Pittsburgh native Tillie Speyer was a painter and a sculptor. She was the mother of Darthea Speyer, Beauford's friend and patron in Paris. Beauford captured the likeness of Tillie as well as those of her daughter Darthea and son James on canvas during the 1960s. The museum acquired the painting of Tillie Speyer from Darthea Speyer.

Organized by Andrew Carnegie in 1896, the Carnegie International is the oldest recurring exhibition of contemporary art in the United States. After the Venice Biennale, it is the oldest international survey exhibition in the world. The 2018 edition of the exhibition runs through March 25, 2019.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville - Knoxville students' excursion to Paris a HUGE success! - Part 2

In last week's post, I shared information about the first half of the Paris excursion for the Knoxville students who are participating in the Classes Duo cultural exchange program.

Here's what happened next!

On the morning of Wednesday, October 10, I led the majority of the Nature's Way parents and children on a tour of Beauford's Montparnasse.

Gathering for the walking tour
© Wells International Foundation

As we walked in Beauford's footsteps, I talked about his life in the neighborhood, his burial at the cemetery in Thiais, and how I learned about his story and eventually founded Les Amis de Beauford Delaney to raise the money to place a tombstone at his grave.

That afternoon, Jean Zay and Nature's Way students visited the Centre Pompidou, France's national museum of modern and contemporary art.

Nature's Way families arrive at Centre Pompidou
© Wells International Foundation

Jean Zay students arrive at Centre Pompidou
© Wells International Foundation

Each group had a guide who spoke to the children in their native language. The guide for the Nature's Way kids began her presentation with a discussion about how modern and contemporary art are defined.

Nature's Way students with their guide
© Wells International Foundation

I tagged along with the French group and observed how their guide engaged the children with questions about paintings and sculptures by Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, and Constantin Brancusi.

Jean Zay students ponder a painting by Fernand Leger
© Wells International Foundation

The Knoxville students' parents enjoyed an unguided visit to the museum at the same time.

From the Pompidou Center, I led everyone over to the Galerie Intemporel, where owner Laurence Choko showed them six Beauford Delaney paintings and works on paper.

Arriving at Galerie Intemporel
© Wells International Foundation

Left to right: Laurence Choko and Monique Y. Wells
© Wells International Foundation

Laurence Choko shows Beauford Delaney works
© Wells International Foundation

Jean Zay students with Beauford Delaney portrait
© Wells International Foundation
Portrait of Vasilli Pikoula
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

That evening, several Nature's Way students slept over at the homes of French families.

On the morning of Thursday, October 11, all the Nature's Way families converged on Jean Zay Elementary School to be welcomed by the school's director, teachers, and entire student body.

Welcome assembly at Jean Zay Elementary School
© Wells International Foundation

The school provided a continental breakfast for the visitors and everyone got a tour of the facilities. Several French parents attended the breakfast to make the acquaintance of the American parents.

Breakfast
© Wells International Foundation

Nature's Way students in Jean Zay library
(the Zoom videoconference room)
© Wells International Foundation

The Nature's Way kids attended class with the French students for the duration of the morning, followed by lunch in the school canteen. They were fortunate to visit the school during La Semaine du Goût (Taste Week), a time when French children learn about the wide variety of French and international culinary traditions and learn how to appreciate cuisine. On the menu that day: Petit Salé aux Lentilles - a meat and lentil dish from the Auvergne region of France.

Once the students set off for class, I led a second walking tour of Beauford's Montparnasse for the parents who did not attend the walk on Wednesday morning. We returned to the school in time for the parents to pick their children up after lunch. Their afternoon was free.

On Friday, October 12, the morning was reserved for sightseeing in Montmartre. During the afternoon, everyone returned to Jean Zay Elementary School for the farewell pot, or reception. Juliette Blache, who has organized the video conferences for Jean Zay since the inception of the program, created an exhibition of the portraits the students created on Tuesday afternoon. She presented a slide show of photos of the week's activities that she accompanied with audio from Beauford's playlist. Everyone enjoyed this trip down what was quickly becoming "memory lane."

Watching the slide show
© Wells International Foundation

The entire group then moved to a large activity room for a French goûter (after-school snack) consisting of a variety of cookies, cakes, and juices.

Enjoying refreshments at the farewell reception
© Wells International Foundation

The students played hand games and collected snail mail addresses. Jean Zay children signed a soccer ball for one of the Nature's Way kids. Children hugged. Parents and teachers marveled at the harmony and energy the kids displayed and provided written testimonials about what this excursion has meant to their children and to them.

Farewell reception collage
© Wells International Foundation

After saying their goodbyes, the Nature's Way families enjoyed an evening consisting of dinner at an Alsatian restaurant, a visit to the Arc de Triomphe, and a stroll down the Champs Elysées. They returned to Knoxville on Saturday, October 13.

Overall, the trip was a RESOUNDING SUCCESS! Discussion about organizing a trip for the Jean Zay children to Knoxville is now underway.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville - Knoxville students' excursion to Paris a HUGE success! - Part 1

The Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville program that has steadily gained momentum since January 2018 has reached a critical milestone. The students from Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville realized a dream when they came to Paris to spend eight days discovering the city and meeting their French counterparts at the Jean Zay Elementary School.

The Knoxville kids and their families arrived on Friday, October 5th and kicked off their trip with an outdoor reception at the Jardin Atlantique in the 14th arrondissement. This man-made garden lies atop the Montparnasse train station. It is only a few blocks from Jean Zay Elementary School.

Nature's Way children at Jardin Atlantique
© Wells International Foundation

Enjoying the garden
© Wells International Foundation

Parents, grandparents, kids, and organizers having a good time
© Wells International Foundation

Saturday and Sunday were reserved for sightseeing and whatever rest the families could muster, given their anticipation of what was planned for the coming week.

On Monday, October 8th, five days of activity with the Jean Zay students began. That evening, the town hall of the 14th arrondissement welcomed the families from Jean Zay and Nature's Way with a reception to open the art exhibition of the students' work. This was held in the Salle de Mariage, the room where civil wedding ceremonies are performed.

Families seated in the Salle de Mariage
© Wells International Foundation

Featured were mixed media works by the Nature's Way children about traveling from Knoxville to Paris,

Nature's Way mixed-media works about travel to Paris
© Wells International Foundation

figurative portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and copies of Beauford's portrait of Charlie Parker by the Nature's Way children,

Nature's Way portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
© Wells International Foundation

Nature's Way works inspired by Charlie Parker (1968)
© Wells International Foundation

abstract works inspired by Beauford's Greece by the Nature's Way children,

Nature's Way works inspired inspired by Greece (1967)
© Wells International Foundation

abstract works inspired by Beauford's Les Embruns and an untitled abstract by Beauford by the Jean Zay children,

Jean Zay works inspired by Les Embruns (1963)
© Wells International Foundation

Jean Zay works inspired by untitled abstract
© Wells International Foundation

abstract works copied from Beauford's Untitled (Trees) by students at both schools,

Jean Zay (left) and Nature's Way (right) students' copies of Untitled (Trees)
© Wells International Foundation

and red clay busts of Josephine Baker by the Jean Zay children.

Jean Zay students' busts of Josephine Baker and
works inspired by Les Embruns (1963)
© Wells International Foundation

The kids met each other for the first time and got along smashingly well!

Nature's Way and Jean Zay students at town hall
© Wells International Foundation

On Tuesday, October 9th, the children met at Jean Zay for a portrait session. One child from each school sat opposite the other at a desk and sketched, then painted, the other student's portrait. The educators who supervised this activity were stunned by the silence and intense concentration that the students exhibited during this exercise!

Portrait session - Chaïness and Sarah
© Wells International Foundation

Portrait session - Andrew and Timothée
© Wells International Foundation

Portrait session - Mia and Aurlane
© Wells International Foundation

MaKenna by Iris
© Wells International Foundation

Read about the rest of the week's activities by clicking HERE.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Beauford at Swann Auction Galleries: October 2018 Sale

On Thursday, October 4, Swann Auction Galleries offered three Beauford Delaney works at its African-American Fine Art sale.

Untitled (African Figure) is a stunning yellow abstraction from Beauford's Paris years. Part of the description posted by Swann reads as follows:

"Delaney had an interest in African sculpture going back to his reading of Alain Locke's New Negro, and visiting artist Cloyd Boykin's Primitive African Arts Center in the 1930s. Having seen the influence of African art on Picasso and other modernist painters in both New York and Paris, Delaney often incorporated African motifs and figures, including Earth Mother, 1950 and Makonde Figure, 1952. There is also an oil on paper work that is the mirror image of this figure in the collection of the Knoxville Museum of Art."

Untitled (African Figure)
(1968) Oil on cotton canvas
610x502 mm; 24x19 3/4 inches
Signed and dated in oil, lower left
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated sale price for this painting was $40,000 - $60,000. It sold for $173,000, including buyer's premium*.

Untitled (Abstracted Landscape) was a gift from Beauford to James and Gloria Jones, friends of his who lived in Paris and supported him considerably.

Untitled (Abstracted Landscape)
(1968) Watercolor on wove paper
559x762 mm; 22x30 inches
Signed, dated and inscribed "Avec amour. Pour Gamie"
in ink, lower right
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated sale price for this painting was $6,000 - $9,000. It sold for $6,000, including buyer's premium.

The final painting offered was a figurative painting from Beauford's New York years.

The Swann Auction Galleries catalog describes Untitled (The Artist and Woman Seated) as

"... a remarkable and important work - a large 1940 oil painting with a self-portrait of the artist. This interior scene is a revealing and intimate view has been captured in only a few photographs - its location is not known."

Untitled (The Artist and Woman Seated)
(1940) Oil on linen canvas
762x914 mm; 30x36 inches
Signed and dated in oil, lower left
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, a photograph of Beauford in his Greene Street studio shows him surrounded by paintings, including Untitled (The Artist and Woman Seated). The auction catalog speculates that the woman seated next to Beauford may be Jessie, a dancer and girlfriend of James Baldwin's friend, Emile Capouya.

The estimated sale price for this painting was $200,000 - $300,000. It went unsold.

*At auction, there are two prices--the hammer price, or the price at which the item sells during the auction, and the price with the buyer's premium. All auction houses have a buyer's premium that the buyer pays to the auction house in addition to the hammer price. The buyer’s premium for items purchased directly through Swann is 25% of the hammer price, up to and including $100,000; 20% of the hammer price above $100,000 up to and including $1,000,000; 12% of the hammer price after $1,000,000. Swann Auction Galleries now reports the "hammer price" and the price that include the buyer's premium in its online catalog.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Beauford and France's Modern Art Museum

From his first days in Paris, Beauford found artistic inspiration at the Musée National d'Art Moderne - France's modern art museum.

He first visited the museum in Autumn 1953, when he saw a memorial show of Raoul Dufy's work.

Detail of poster advertising Raoul Dufy exhibition

One of his first exhibitions was held at the museum during the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, a major, annual exhibition of abstract art that was established in 1947 and hosted by the museum through 1969. Beauford contributed works to the Salons held in 1954, 1960, and 1963.

Additionally, Beauford saw the Joan Miró exhibition at the museum in 1962

Cover of Joan Miró e-book from
June - November 1962 exhibition at
Musée National d'Art Moderne
Screenshot from Dailymotion video

and took a course on modern art featuring Braque, Picasso, and Vlaminck there in 1967.

During this time, the Musée d'Art Moderne was located in the west wing of what is now called the Palais de Tokyo on avenue du Président Wilson in the 16th arrondissement. The City of Paris has had its own Musée d'Art Moderne, which is located in the east wing of this building, since 1961.

Palais de Tokyo
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
(view from Avenue de New York)
Coldcreation
Creative Commons Attribution

The national museum moved to the Pompidou Center in 1977, leaving the west wing of the Palais de Tokyo to be occupied by multiple inhabitants over the decades. It now houses a contemporary art center.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Historical Marker Honors Beauford and Joseph Delaney in Knoxville

Ever since the "Knoxville Eleven" came to Paris for the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition in 2016 and saw the plaques that honor Beauford at two locations in Montparnasse, they have been on a mission to inspire the City of Knoxville to honor its native son in a similar fashion.

They have succeeded!

"Knoxville Eleven" on the Beauford Delaney
Commemorative Walking Tour in Paris
(2016) © Discover Paris!

In 2017, the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee Historical Center submitted a proposal to the State of Tennessee requesting the marker. The request was approved during the fall and work began on the marker's construction. Once completed, it was installed on Summit Hill Drive close to the location of the Delaney homestead during the month of August 2018.


On Thursday, September 13, 2018, the 114th anniversary of Joseph Delaney's birth, the double-sided marker was unveiled.

The text for Beauford's side of the marker 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.
An African American artist, Beauford was one
of 10 children born to the Rev. John Samuel
and Delia Elizabeth Johnson Delaney at
815 East Vine Avenue near this site. He spent
most of his life in New York City and Paris, France,
forming lifelong friendships with writers James Baldwin,
Henry Miller, and other luminaries. Beauford Delaney
is buried in Cimetière Parisien de Thiais.

Beauford Delaney marker
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art

The text for Joseph's side reads as follows:


JOSEPH DELANEY
1904 – 1991


Born near this site, Joseph Delaney, an African American
artist 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. He 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 Knoxville's Greenwood Cemetery.

Joseph Delaney marker
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art

Speakers at the dedication ceremony included Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Knoxville Museum of Art trustee Sylvia Peters of the Gathering Light Delaney Project, and Reverend Renee Kesler of the Beck Cultural Center.

Unveiling ceremony for Beauford and Joseph Delaney marker
Image courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art

The Knoxville Law Enforcement Credit Union at 501 E Summit Hill Dr. offered light refreshments in the lobby after the dedication.