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 28, 2012

Where to Find Beauford's Art: Swann Galleries 2012 African-American Fine Art Sale

As I reported in my first article about Swann Galleries last October, the auction house launched its department of African-American Fine Art in 2007. Swann Galleries is the only major auction house conducting regular sales of African-American fine art today. The works that it sells are consigned by individuals, libraries, schools, museums, and dealers the world over. Thus far, Swann Galleries has put twenty-eight (28) of Beauford’s paintings up for auction.

For the February 2012 African-American Fine Art auction, Swann Galleries is proposing three Beauford Delaney works that were painted when Beauford lived in Paris. The gallery catalog notes that his Paris paintings reflect “a sensitivity to light and a quieter voice than the noise and tumult depicted in his views of Greenwich Village.”

The first one (my favorite of the three) is an oil painting in blue, black, orange, and yellow:

Lot 22
Untitled (Abstract Composition)
(1961) Oil monotype on heavy wove paper
Photo courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

It is signed, dated and inscribed "La ...." in ink at the lower right. No further description of the work is provided. The estimated sale price is $15,000 to $25,000.

The second and third paintings are studies in green:

Lot 129
(1962) Gouache and watercolor on wove paper
Photo courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Lot 130
Untitled (Abstraction in Green)
(1964) Gouache on thick wove paper
Photo courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

The catalog describes Lot 129 as “lush” and “atmospheric” and indicates that the painting is signed and dated in ink at the lower right. It quotes art historian Michael D. Plante as saying the following about the work: "nothing is described nor contoured; the viewer is left to be seduced by Delaney's painterly touch." The estimated sale price is $10,000 - $15,000.

The catalog description of Lot 130 is limited to the notation that the painting is signed in red ink and dated in blue ink at the lower right. The estimated sale price is $10,000 - $15,000.

The African-American Fine Art auction will be held on February 16, 2012. To find out about the buying process, visit the following page on the gallery’s Web site: http://www.swanngalleries.com/buying2.cgi.

After the auction is over, I will report on which of the abovementioned paintings sold and at what price.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where to Find Beauford's Art: High Museum of Art

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta holds a single work by Beauford - a portrait of Richard A. Long.

Portrait of Richard A. Long
(1965) Oil on canvas

The museum's Web site has the following to say about the painting:
This quarter-length portrait of Long is painted with intense shades of yellow against a soft blue background. It is a tender portrait of a friend that illustrates both the promise of a future unfettered by racial strife and the burgeoning talent of its young subject.

Richard wrote a tribute to Beauford during the time that Les Amis de Beauford Delaney was raising money for Beauford's tombstone. Access it by clicking here.

Les Amis also recorded Richard's reminiscences on Beauford on video:

Special Video 1

Special Video 2

The High Museum of Art mounted an exposition of Beauford's works entitled Beauford Delaney: The Color Yellow, which hung at the museum from February 9 through May 5, 2002.

Catalog cover for The Color Yellow

It traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem (July 10 - September 15, 2002), the Anacostia Museum and Center for African History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution (October 11 - December 30, 2002), and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University (February 8 - May 4, 2003). The catalog for the exposition included a poem that Richard dedicated to Beauford called "Ascending."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Beauford and the Influence of Paul Cézanne

Beauford was quite interested in the modernist style of painting. He was particularly enamored of the works of Claude Monet, but also loved those of Paul Cézanne. His cityscape entitled Central Park, dated 1950, was described by art critic Mark Lane as being "like Van Gogh in brushing, but like Cézanne in fête-champêtre (garden party) spirit."

Central Park note card*

According to David Leeming (Beauford's sole biographer), Beauford was encouraged by his friend Stuart Davis to study the works of Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh. Leeming indicates that there is a "Cézanne-like distortion of forms and perspective" in the first of Beauford's Greene Street paintings that portrays a "below-the-surface reality," and that Beauford had been deeply influenced by European painting since the 1930s - 20+ years before moving to France. Leeming found the names of Cézanne and other artists such as Renoir and Modigliani written in Beauford's sketchbook journal of the 1940s.

The Musée du Luxembourg is currently hosting an exposition of Cézanne's works called Cézanne et Paris. It was organized in collaboration with the Petit Palais in Paris, and benefits from the loan of several paintings by the Musée d'Orsay. This expo presents an excellent opportunity to view the works of an artist that heavily influenced Beauford's style and palette. It runs until February 26, 2012.

Musée du Luxembourg
Open every day
9:00 AM to 10:00 PM Friday through Monday
10:00 AM to 8:00 PM Tuesday through Thursday

Full price: 12 euros
Reduced price: 7.50 euros
Family ticket (2 adults et 2 children from 13 to 25 years of age): 31.50 euros

*Pomegranate sells a folio of ten (10) note cards bearing images of two of Beauford's paintings: Washington Square and Central Park. Find them at http://www.pomegranate.com/0873.html.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Beauford's Trustees

In January 1976, a French judge created a "trusteeship" to handle Beauford's affairs. Beauford had been admitted to Saint-Anne's, a psychiatric institution, several months before. He eventually died there.

The judge appointed seven of Beauford's closest friends as members of the panel of trustees: James Baldwin, Solange du Closel, Burt Reinfrank, Bernard Hassell, Darthea Speyer, Ahmed Bioud, and James LeGros.

Beauford created portraits of at least six of the seven trustees prior to entering Sainte-Anne's. (I have never seen or heard of a portrait of James LeGros.) I honor them on Beauford's behalf in this blog posting by presenting their portraits below.

James Baldwin
1963 Pastel on paper
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute

Mme du Closel No. 4
1972 Pastel on paper
G. R. N'Namdi Gallery

Burton Reinfrank
1968 Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Burton Reinfrank

Bernard Hassell
ca. 1971 Oil on canvas
Private collection

1965 Oil on canvas
Image courtesy of Galerie Darthea Speyer

Ahmed Bioud
1964 Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York , NY