Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford.

Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!



Saturday, January 30, 2021

Beauford in the Johnson Collection

Housed at the TJC Gallery in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Johnson Collection consists of "1,200 objects with provenances that span the centuries and chronicle the cultural evolution of the American South." The gallery is currently hosting an exhibition called Excellence & Emancipation: African American Artists and the Harmon Foundation, in which two exquisite Beauford Delaney abstracts are hung.

I asked the gallery for an interview about the exhibition and Communications Specialist Anna Chandler graciously responded. Here's what she had to say:

Les Amis: How did TJC come to the decision to mount the Excellence & Emancipation exhibition?

TJC: The Johnson Collection exists to tell the story of Southern art, and we are always interested in following––and sharing––the unique threads that connect the artists in our collection. 

The Harmon Foundation, which recognized excellence in eight fields of endeavor and became best known for its celebration of African American visual artists, profoundly impacted the careers of many artists represented in the Johnson Collection; its history offers a unique framework for curating an exhibition. Excellence & Emancipation allows us to showcase an array of artistic styles and techniques while also providing a rich historical context for our visiting public.

Les Amis: Are all the works shown in this exhibition part of the Johnson Collection?

TJC: Yes, all exhibitions at TJC Gallery, the Johnson Collection’s exhibition space in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, are curated entirely from the collection’s holdings.

Les Amis: Is the exhibition accessible virtually or only through in-person visits?

TJC: Guests can visit the exhibition in-person, and all of the works in Excellence & Emancipation, as well as biographies of each artist on view, are available at thejohnsoncollection.org

TJC’s social media accounts (@thejohnsoncollection on Instagram, facebook.com/thejohnsoncollection on Facebook, and @johnsoncollect1 on Twitter) offer a closer look at the exhibition while it is on view.

Les Amis: Three Beauford Delaney works are part of the collection. How / why did you select Abstraction No. 9 and Untitled to be part of this exhibition?

TJC: Abstraction No. 9 and Untitled are strong examples of Delaney’s fully abstracted works, which are among his most celebrated. Additionally, Abstraction No. 9 demonstrates Delaney’s use of his signature color, yellow, which he called “the color of his sacred light.”

Abstraction No. 9
(circa 1963) Oil on canvas
51 1/4 x 38 1/8 inches
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of the Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Les Amis: Is Untitled signed? Dated?

TJC: It is signed in the upper right in pencil; it is not dated.

Oil on canvas
51 x 38 inches
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of the Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Les Amis: Do you have / can you share the text of the biographies published about Beauford in the 1933 and 1935 Harmon Foundation catalogs?

A PDF of the 1933 catalog is available online. Delaney’s biography in that text is as follows:

Beauford DeLaney, New York - Born 1905 in Tennessee; educated in public schools, and studied art at Massachusetts Normal Art, South Boston School of Art, and Copley Society. Works as telephone operator at Whitney Museum. Exhibited at Whitney Galleries in 1930; 135th Street Branch of N. Y. Public Library, 1930; 42nd Street Branch of N. Y. Public Library. 1932; Cooperative Art Market and Roxy Theatre, 1933. Work shown in Harmon Exhibit of 1933.*

Les Amis: Where/how did you acquire your Beauford Delaney works (private acquisitions, auction…)?

TJC: All three of our Beauford Delaney works were acquired directly from the artist’s estate.

Les Amis: Have you ever loaned any of Beauford’s works for exhibition?

TJC: TJC’s Beauford Delaney pieces have not been a part of any recent exhibitions.

TJC Gallery
154 West Main Street
Spartanburg, South Carolina 29306
Telephone: (864) 594-5834
Website: https://thejohnsoncollection.org/

*Though several images of works shown in the 1933 exhibition are provided in the catalog, Beauford's sole submission - a pastel called Minstrel - is not among them.

No comments: