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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Beauford in God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin

Dark Rapture is the first portrait that Beauford painted of James Baldwin.

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

It is one of three featured works of art by Beauford in the exhibition entitled God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin, curated by writer Hilton Als and showing at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York. New York Times writer Holland Cotter describes Dark Rapture as the centerpiece of the show.

God Made My Face - Dark Rapture
Image courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

God Made My Face
is Als' piercingly personal look at Baldwin's life and work. The first, autobiographical section of the two-part show, called "The Walker in the City," presents Baldwin in New York and Paris. Visitors will find it in the 525 Gallery. This is the section in which Beauford's paintings are hung.

Rehearsal, a 1952 figurative painting, hangs next to a photo of Baldwin's stepfather, David Baldwin (who was a preacher).

Beauford's Rehearsal and photo of David Baldwin
Image courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

An untitled Beauford Delaney abstract from 1963 hangs next to two black & white photos of 1900s Paris by Eugène Atget.

Beauford's Untitled and Atget photos
Image courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

Other artists whose works appear in the show include Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Sedat Pakay, Glenn Ligon, and Kara Walker. One of these artists, Marlene Dumas, contributed a series of fourteen portraits called Baldwin and, 2014-2018 to the show - including one of Baldwin and one of Beauford. Beauford's portrait hangs at the far left of the series.

Marlene Dumas series
Image courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

Beauford Delaney, 2018
Marlene Dumas
Ink, graphite, and metallic acrylic on paper
Image courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

In an article published in The New Yorker, Als describes Beauford as Baldwin's "other father, a gay father." He is planning to curate a show of Beauford's work later this year.

God Made My Face
is on display through February 16, 2019.

David Zwirner Gallery
525 and 533 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
Telephone: 212-727-2070


Listen to this interview with Hilton Als about God Made My Face. From 5:06 to 10:22, Als and interviewer Savona Bailey-McClain talk about Beauford and James Baldwin.

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