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, September 25, 2021

Colin Gravois' Portrait

I have written about Beauford's portrait of Colin Gravois many times over the course of the life of the Les Amis blog. Until two weeks ago, I illustrated the posts with an image that appears in the 1978 catalog of Beauford's retrospective at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Portrait of a Man in Green
Oil (undated)
80 x 64.5 cm
Photo of page from Beauford Delaney: A Retrospective catalog
Studio Museum in Harlem
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In my most recent article, I posted an image which appears on the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (MRG) Website as part of its promotion of the Be Your Wonderful Self exhibition of a selection of Beauford's portraits.

Colin Gravois (aka Portrait of a Man in Green)
31 7/8" x 25 1/2" / 81.0 x 64.8 cm
Image courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The difference in color is so striking that I began to wonder whether there might be two versions of this work. So, I contacted the gallery to ask some questions about this as well as additional differences in the information published in the Studio Museum catalog (name and dimensions of work) compared to the information published in the MRG fact sheet.

MRG commented on these difference as follows:

There is a Studio Museum exhibition label affixed to a stretcher bar on the verso of the painting, which lists the title Portrait of a Man in Green.
The images reproduced in the 1978 Studio Museum catalogue are generally quite inaccurate in color and quality compared to the appearance of the works in-person or with modern digital photography .... With the major advancements made in digital photography and printing over the past forty years, many of the works in our current show that were published by the Studio Museum look quite different in-person than as printed in the 1978 catalogue. Once acquired by Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, the painting was cleaned by a painting conservator.
There are often small discrepancies between published dimensions for an artwork and the dimensions we measure here at the gallery. The difference between these dimensions is minute.

The coloring of the MRG image closely corresponds to that of a photo I took of the portrait when I visited Knoxville in 2016.

Portrait of a Man in Green in storage
Photo © Wells International Foundation
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Derek Spratley, Court Appointed Adminstrator of Beauford's estate, informed me that the portrait was not restored before it was sold. He indicated that MRG confirmed the identity of the subject of the portrait, notified the Estate, and made the name change, while acknowledging the prior name.

MRG also commented on the current name of the painting, as follows:

The title we have for the painting, Colin Gravois (aka Portrait of a Man in Green), names the sitter (Colin Gravois) followed by the title given to the painting for the Studio Museum retrospective in 1978. We include this previous title in our current title in order to make clear that this work is the same one that was exhibited in that show, as we have done with other works that have similar title differences. The artist did not title this painting.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC is Special Advisor and Representative of the Estate of Beauford Delaney.

No comments: