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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Beauford's Yellow Abstracts are HOT

Yet another yellow Beauford Delaney abstract has sold at a price that far surpassed the estimated sales price.

On November 19, Millon held its "Post War & Art Contemporain" sale at Drouot in Paris. A single Beauford Delaney painting was included in the offerings - a magnificent work that the owner obtained from the Paul Facchetti gallery. It was shown at Beauford's monographic exhibition at the gallery in June-July 1960.

(circa 1960) Oil on canvas
Signed at lower right and on back of canvas
84 x 75 cm
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I visited the Drouot showroom about a month before the sale to see the painting "up close and personal."

Beauford's Untitled at the Drouot showroom
© Discover Paris!

Based on this viewing, I contributed the following text to Millon's catalog for the sale:

Cette oeuvre représente l’éclat pur de l’esprit de Beauford Delaney. Créée pendant ses années à Clamart (1956-1961), elle capte “la lumière interne” que l’artiste cherchait toujours. Pour Delaney, la lumière “détenait le pouvoir d’illuminer, même de sauver, de réconcilier et de guérir.” Il l’utilisait en tant qu’outil afin de repousser les voix intérieures qui le tourmentaient.

Delaney appelait son studio à Clamart «sa place à la campagne». La lumière qu’il aimait et dont il avait besoin pour travailler venait d’une fenêtre donnant sur un jardin à l’arrière de la maison. Comme dans tous ses ateliers, il a recouvert les murs de draps blancs afin d’accentuer la lumière. Le nombre d’oeuvres qu’il a créé dans cet environnement paisible est actuellement inconnu.

La jaune de ce tableau est lumineuse et l’empâtement qui est caractéristique de Delaney est un témoin de l’engagement de l’artiste de “rappeler la sculpture et la structure de couleur.” En regardant cette oeuvre, on peut bien imaginer qu’elle est la lumière.

The English translation of the text is as follows:

This work represents the pure brilliance of Beauford Delaney's spirit. Created during his years at Clamart (1956-1961), it captures "the internal light" for which the artist was always searching. For Delaney, the light "held the power to illuminate, even to save, reconcile and heal." He used it as a tool to repel the inner voices that tormented him.

Delaney called his studio at Clamart "his place in the country." The light he loved and needed for work came from a window overlooking a garden at the back of the house. As in all his studios, he covered the walls with white sheets to accentuate the light. The number of works that he created in this peaceful environment is currently unknown.

The yellow of this painting is luminous and the impasto which is characteristic of Delaney is a witness of the artist's commitment to "remember the sculpture and structure in color." Looking at this work, one can well imagine that it IS light.

Millon estimated the sale price to be between 10,000€ and 15,000€. After a bidding war among ten potential buyers, Untitled sold for 130,000€, including charges (30% buyer's premium and 20% value added tax).

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