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 24, 2011

Beauford’s Portrait of Colin Gravois

In December 2010, I published an account of Colin Gravois’s friendship with Beauford as Colin relayed it to me in an interview. Colin describes the experience of sitting for a portrait with Beauford and regretting that he did not return to Beauford’s studio to recuperate it before Beauford was committed to Saint Anne’s Hospital.

Here is the portrait that Beauford painted of Colin:

Portrait of a Man in Green
Beauford Delaney
Oil (undated)
Photo from catalog of Beauford Delaney: A Retrospective
Studio Museum in Harlem

Colin has managed to obtain a photograph of him sitting in front of the portrait that Beauford created. He sent it to me to share with all of you! Here it is:

Photograph of Colin Gravois in front of his portrait painted by Beauford Delaney
Photo courtesy of Colin Gravois

This photo was taken at Beauford’s studio on rue Vercingétorix. (Note the other paintings on the wall behind Beauford’s portrait of Colin.)

Unlike the abstract nature of some of his portraits of James Baldwin, Beauford rendered a true likeness of Colin in this painting. Its whereabouts are currently unknown.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where to Find Beauford’s Art: Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts

In Romare Bearden and Harry Henderson’s chapter on Beauford in A History of African-American Artists – From 1792 to the Present, the authors state that “Beauford Delaney has no long list of museum credits, prizes, or awards.” While Beauford may not have won many prizes, he certainly has numerous museum credits to his name. Many date after the publication of Bearden and Henderson’s book; all deserve to be brought to light. This is what I will attempt to do in the next several postings on this blog.

Let’s begin with a work that belongs to the Musée cantonal des Beaux Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Mémoire (Memory)
Beauford Delaney
(ca. 1964) Oil on canvas, 192 x 129.5 cm
Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
© Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne
Photo: J.-C. Ducret

Monsieur René Berger, director of the museum from 1962-1981, learned of Beauford’s work during an exposition organized by the museum in 1963. The “1er Salon international de galeries-pilotes” (1st International “Pioneer Galleries” Salon) was held from June 21 – September 22, 1963, where Beauford’s Composition (1958) was presented by the Paul Facchetti Gallery. Berger selected the Facchetti Gallery and three other galleries from New York, Milan, and Paris for this first of three expositions that he organized to showcase galleries with a spirit of openness and discovery regarding art and artists.

Berger subsequently visited Beauford at his studio on rue Vercingétorix.

Mémoire was acquired by the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in 1964 (Inv. 1964-011). According to Beauford’s biographer,
David A. Leeming, the sale was arranged by Beauford’s dear friend Ahmed Bioud. The painting is currently archived at the museum.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Beauford at the Centre Pompidou

I recently discovered that the Centre Pompidou is in possession of one of Beauford's paintings:

Beauford Delaney
(1957) Oil on canvas, 1.62 m x 1.14 m
(C) Collection Centre Pompidou, Dist. RMN / Philippe Migeat

This is a phenomenal work; when I first saw the image of it, I was dazzled! I wanted to go immediately to the Pompidou Center to see it, but unfortunately, I learned that the painting is not currently being displayed.

The painting was donated sous reserve d'usufruit (under usufruct) to the museum in 1994 by M. and Mme du Closel, who were devoted patrons of Beauford for much of his life in Paris. "Usufruct" means that the museum has the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from the painting, as long as it is not damaged. Ownership is retained by the du Closels until their death.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September - A Milestone Month for Beauford and Les Amis

A year has already passed since I proudly announced on this blog that Les Amis de Beauford Delaney had been successful at placing a tombstone at Beauford's previously unmarked grave! The date was September 2, 2010. View the blog posting here:


September 2 is also Beauford's presumed arrival date in France, given that he sailed on the SS Liberté on August 28, 1953 and that this ocean liner generally made the transatlantic voyage in five days.

Beauford on the deck of the SS Liberté
Photo from David Leeming’s Amazing Grace

I plan to continue posting about Beauford here for the next several weeks as I share information that I am uncovering about Beauford's art. I have invited a few people to provide guest postings on this topic, and am encouraging them to keep their commitments to submit their articles. So stay tuned!

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