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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Beauford at the 1967 "L'Age du Jazz" exhibition

In Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, biographer David Leeming reports that "In November the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in France bought a Delaney painting entitled Jazz from 'L'Age du Jazz' exhibition."

(1966) Oil on canvas
French Embassy of Taipai, Taiwan
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Photo courtesy of France's Fonds national d'art contemporain

This show was held at the Palais Galliera, which is also known as the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. It ran from April 29 to May 24, 1967.

Palais Galliera
Image in the public domain

I was fortunate to find the catalog for the exhibition at the Centre Pompidou's Kandinsky library, but was disappointed to see that it is a small publication and that with the exception of the cover, it is printed in black and white.

Catalog cover for L'Age du Jazz exhibition
© Discover Paris!

The names of the artists whose works were shown at the exhibition are printed in alphabetical order and I quickly found the page where names beginning with the letter "D" were printed. Beauford is not mentioned on this page.

I found his name on the last page of the catalog, under the header "Addendum." It gives Beauford's information as follows:

né en 1910 [sic] à Knoxville, Tennessee chanteur de blues [sic]
Portrait. huile sur toile 1965

The entry does not include a photo of the work he contributed.

Despite the errors in Beauford's listing, the description of the work (blues singer, portrait, 1965 oil on canvas) is evocative of Beauford's portrait of Marian Anderson, which is now part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' permanent collection.

Marian Anderson
(1965) Oil on canvas
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

A second listing under "Addendum" in the catalog attributes Jazz to another artist.

Interestingly, a dossier compiled in 2010 by the Fonds national d'art contemporain on Beauford Delaney works owned by the French government mentions "Portrait of Marian Anderson" as though it might be part of the title ofJazz, but only presents an image and details for Jazz.

Given this tangled web of circumstances, it is tempting to speculate that Beauford's Portrait of Marian Anderson was shown at the Palais Galliera during l'Age du Jazz!

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