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BEAUFORD DELANEY: SO SPLENDID A JOURNEY,

the first full-length documentary about Beauford.


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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Beauford at the American Hospital

The American Hospital of Paris is a private, non-profit hospital that is certified by the French Haute Autorité de Santé (French National Authority for Health). Established in 1906 in the western Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, it is the only civilian hospital outside the U.S. that is accredited by the Joint Commission, an organization that sets the highest standards for health care around the world.

Entrance to the American Hospital of Paris (1968)
Image courtesy of the American Hospital of Paris

The hospital was in the midst of significant expansion when Beauford was admitted for several tests in 1961. These confirmed severe liver and kidney problems diagnosed at the hospital in Athens, Greece where Beauford was treated after his suicide attempts in Patras earlier that year.

Beauford returned to the American Hospital in February 1970, where the clinic treated him for flu and heart palpatations. This was shortly after his Christmas 1969 visit to Knoxville.

During the fall of 1970, the hospital treated Beauford's dear friend and mentee, James Baldwin, presumably for hepatitis that had been diagnosed in Istanbul when Baldwin was there to direct the play Fortune and Men's Eyes.

Other friends and acquaintances of Beauford who were treated at the American Hospital include Tria French, a friend and literary agent of Baldwin, who died of a cerebral hemorrhage there.

Writer Richard Wright was treated at the hospital several times during his 14-year stay in Paris. His wife Ellen had an appendectomy there and his youngest daughter was born there. Led by Wright, the Franco-American Fellowship protested the establishment's discriminatory hiring policy regarding black people in 1951.

The American Hospital informed Les Amis that all medical records for patients treated there prior to 1989 have been destroyed in accordance with their policy to archive records for a period of 30 years. Therefore, the details of Beauford's diagnostic and treatment regimens at this institution are now permanently lost.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Friese Masters 2021 - 1st Solo Beauford Delaney Exhibition in the UK

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (MRG) has organized the first solo exhibition of Beauford's work in the UK at Frieze Masters 2021 in Regent's Park, London. Laura Hoptman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center, curated the show, which is entitled Beauford Delaney An American in Paris.

This magnificent exhibition consists of nine works on canvas and twenty-two works on paper. It was previewed on October 13 and 14 and opened to the public on October 15. It will be on display through Sunday, October 17.

Tickets to Frieze Masters are limited and only available online. Purchase them here: Frieze Masters 2021.

The online catalog opens with the following quote:

“[I have] worked terribly hard here in Europe and much has sundered and exploded, but now it coalesces with lava-like smoke and fluid color, sometimes a veritable flame, other times subdued essences… yes, I am again painting in my old feeling – tense, difficult, but compulsive, and I love it.”
                                                            —Beauford Delaney, 1964

Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney only mentions one trip that Beauford made to London. He and Mary Painter visited the city in late 1963. Two works in the Frieze Masters show are dated 1963.

Untitled
(1963) Oil on canvas, signed
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Untitled
(1963) Watercolor and gouache on paper, signed
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

View the online catalog here (use "full screen" for maximum effect): Beauford Delaney An American in Paris

MRG is showing Be Your Wonderful Self: The Portraits of Beauford Delaney concurrently in NYC. Read the NYTimes review of the show HERE.

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

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Beauford Delaney - A Musical Interlude

The jazz album entitled Soulful Noise, by Will Boyd, was released in September 2021.

Track 7 on this album is entitled "Beauford Delaney."

Four musicians worked on this instrumental - Will Boyd (woodwinds), Taber Gable (piano), Darryl Ford (bass), and Kenneth Brown (drums). It is available on multiple music streaming platforms, including Spotify and Deezer.

Brown hails from Beauford's hometown of Knoxville, TN - perhaps he suggested the name for the tune.

A Jazz Weekly review of the album by George W. Harris describes Boyd as "searing on 'Beauford Delaney'." Beauford was an avid jazz fan, and I can only imagine his delight at having such a vibrant composition named after him.

Take a few moments to insert this musical interlude into your day. Click here to enjoy! Beauford Delaney on Spotify

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Bon Naissance Howard

While perusing the Internet for painterly descriptions of Beauford's Portrait of Howard Swanson, I found an online catalog that mentioned the portrait in the context of an African American Fine Art Auction.

Portrait of Howard Swanson
(1967) Oil on canvas
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Image courtesy of Levis Fine Art
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The catalog was created by Thom Pegg of Black Art Auction in support of the "inaugural sale of art by African Americans at the Toomey/Treadway Auction." I reported the sale of the Beauford Delaney abstract offered during this auction on December 5, 2015: Where to Find Beauford's Art: Art Basel Miami Beach and Treadway Toomey Auctions

The catalog presents beautiful photos of the framed work and the unframed work.

Bon Naissance Howard - framed
Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Thom Pegg, Black Art Auction
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Bon Naissance Howard
Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Thom Pegg, Black Art Auction
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In my 2015 article, I reported that the work was untitled. So I was intrigued to see that the catalog lists the title of the painting as Bon Naissance Howard. It provides a photo of the rear of the painting in support of this assignation, and mentions the horizontal lines and circles that Beauford drew above his name and what is taken as a message to Swanson as being reminiscent of a musical clef with notes. (Swanson was a classical composer who studied under Nadia Boulanger in Paris.)

Bon Naissance Howard - verso
Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Thom Pegg, Black Art Auction
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The word "naissance," which means "birth," is misspelled in the inscription. The dedication likely indicates that Beauford created the painting as a birthday gift for Swanson, who was a close friend of Beauford. Read the Les Amis article about their relationship here: Beauford and Howard Swanson