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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Sale of Beauford Delaney Portraits to Support Charitable Causes

Over the years, I've published three articles about the time Beauford spent in Istanbul:

Beauford and Baldwin in Istanbul

Beauford in Istanbul

Sedat Pakay's Tribute to Beauford

A few days ago, I learned that two works created by Beauford during this sojourn are being auctioned for charity.

Christie's London is hosting two auctions under the umbrella title "Istanbul Calling" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and benefit the institution’s new Young Artists Fund.  The sales catalog states that "Highlights include two enchanting portraits by Beauford Delaney painted in Turkey and held in the same private collection since 1966..." 

That collection belongs to the estate of Gülriz Sururi (1929-2018), a Turkish actress, theater director and owner, author, and television media personality. She and her husband, actor Engin Cezzar (1935-2017), were dear friends of James Baldwin. Beauford met the couple during his 1966 visit to Istanbul.

The portraits portray James Baldwin (Lot 287) and Gülriz Sururi (Lot 288).

Screenshot from Christie's Website

Find vibrant images of these portraits and read the lot essays about them on Christie's Website at the links below:

James Baldwin

Gülriz Sururi

The Baldwin portrait is one of two that Beauford created while in Istanbul.  It is one of the "softest" I've seen in terms of the palette Beauford chose to use in portraying his friend.  The estimated sale price of this work is $210,000-$290,000.

The Sururi portrait is another example of Beauford's passion for portraying his subjects in luminous yellow.  The estimated sale price of this work is $180,000-$230,000.

Both portraits will be sold during the Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale on Friday 14 October 2022. The Sururi Estate plans to donate 80% of their net proceeds of sale to Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği (Association for the Support of Contemporary Living), a non-profit NGO in Turkey, and the remaining 20% of their net proceeds of sale to İKSV. The Association for the Support of Contemporary Living helps girls across Turkey to obtain an education.

For more information about the sale, click HERE.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Sold and To Be Sold


Thomaston Place Auction Galleries of Thomaston, Maine held a three-day live auction called August Splendor 2022 last month. On Day 3 - August 28, 2022 - it offered a Beauford Delaney untitled, undated abstract for sale.

(Undated) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The online catalog describes the painting as follows:

"Color Composition, impasto oil on canvas, signed lower right, a blended confetti of pale teal, pink and yellow, unframed, SS: 28 3/4" x 23 1/2", very good condition."

The colors in this work remind me of the ones Beauford used in the more vibrantly colored abstract that the Mint Museum purchased a few years ago.

(1959) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated sale price for the work offered by Thomaston Place Galleries was $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $85,000.

The Cleveland Museum of Art has acquired Untitled (ca. 1958), a nearly 5' x 4' oil on canvas as part of its move to increase the number of works in its collection that were created by African American artists.

(c. 1958) Oil on canvas
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
The museum describes the painting as one of Beauford's "finest and most exuberant achievements."


On October 6, 2022, Swann Auction Galleries will auction Beauford's Ciel, a color screenprint for which 36 prints were made, as Lot number 46. 

Ciel (Sky)
(1960) Color screenprint
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered 22/36 in pencil, lower margin
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Ciel is mentioned in two previous articles on the Les Amis blog:

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Ink Miama Art Fair - Aaron Galleries

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Minneapolis Institute of Arts

An image of MIA's print appears in the catalog entitled Beauford Delaney: From New York to Paris, published for the museum's 2004 exhibition of the same name.

The estimated sale price for Ciel (Sky) Print no. 22/36 is $10,000 - $15,000.

For information about Swann's sale, click HERE.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Beauford on Obelisk Art History

I occasionally Google Beauford to see what obscure references to his life and art I can find online. Earlier this week, I found a delightful one - a page on a Website called Obelisk Art History.

Obelisk, formerly known as Trivium, is "a place to explore the wildly diverse world of art history." Created by Reed Enger 10+ years ago, it has evolved from a simple classroom resource to a platform with thousands of images, essays, correspondence, projects, and quizzes for those interested in art history.

In the section called "Artists," Enger has built a page called "Beauford Delaney: Capturing the Sacred Light." It features two sentences about Beauford and images of five of his works, most of which are dominated by the color "yellow." The sentences contain links to four other pages on the site, three of which link back to Beauford's page. Clicking on each image takes you to a page dedicated to the corresponding work, and this page also presents a brief paragraph that contains links to additional pages.

Through an innovative function called "The Kaleidoscope," Enger invites visitors to the site to take "a hypnotic journey through art history." On any given page that features a work of art, you'll find a rotating "gear" between the images of the work and the text describing it. Click on it, and you're taken to a new page where the work is transformed into a constantly changing pattern reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. This is absolutely mesmerizing!

Enger selected two abstracts and three portraits for "Capturing the Sacred Light." Here are a few screenshots of the kaleidoscopic images from these works.

Kaleidoscope - Portrait of Howard Swanson
Kaleidoscope - Composition 16
Kaleidoscope - Portrait of Marian Anderson
Kaleidoscope - Abstraction No. 4
Kaleidoscope - Portrait of James Baldwin

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this way this site transforms images of artwork from classical to contemporary into ever changing geometric forms. Write to me at amisdebeauford@yahoo.com to let me know!

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Beauford's Studio as Described by Larry Calcagno

Beauford met Larry Calcagno in Paris soon after Beauford's arrival, and the two men became dear friends. They frequently exchanged letters through which they conveyed not only the details of their daily lives, but also their love for each other. 

Calcagno was a painter and as such, he was acutely sensitive to the environment in which Beauford created his art. In a handwritten document, he described Beauford's studio as follows: 

"Beauford Delaney paints with joy each day, sitting beneath an enormous potted tree in his studio in Paris. A white island shining in a grey sea, it is filled with his inner light. Walls, floor, bed and chair, stacks of paintings and memorabilia — all covered with white — draperies, bedsheets, paper, a white shroud ... 

"He puts everything away, literally out of sight — the past, the world, painful histories, frustration, and suffering. He paints with an enormous faith and serenity those he loves, who love him; in his world of white — [indecipherable] moves in a world of new beginnings."

Though Calcagno's document is undated, his description of the tree in the studio implies that he is describing the creative space at Beauford's rue Vercingétorix apartment.
Beauford at his rue Vercingétorix studio
Screenshot from Henry Miller vu par ses amis
Beauford moved to this address long after Calcagno left Paris, and Calcagno visited him there in 1966 and 1972.

I found this document touching because of Calcagno's description of the emotional state he felt Beauford experienced in painting.  Whether he thought Beauford summoned his faith to achieve serenity in order to paint the people he loved, or that Beauford's faith was strengthened and serenity achieved by the act of painting them, we cannot know.

Find additional posts about Beauford and Larry Calcagno at the links below:

Beauford and Larry Calcagno

Beauford and Larry Calcagno: The Letters 

Larry Calcagno's Portrait of Beauford 

Beauford in Spain 

Larry Calcagno's Portrait of Beauford 

A Boundless Love: Beauford's Letters to Larry Calcagno