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, June 27, 2015

Beauford Delaney Plaque Installed at Hôtel Le M

In the blog post that I published on December 13, 2014, I reported that Les Amis had received approval for the installation of a second plaque to honor Beauford in his beloved Montparnasse.

This plaque was installed on Wednesday, June 24 at Hôtel Le M. It is the only plaque that has been set in place at present, which makes it the FIRST plaque to honor Beauford in Paris! (The installation of the first plaque to be approved for installation in another location in Montparnasse is pending.)

I was on hand to capture this special event in a series of photos.

Marking the spot
© Discover Paris!

Drilling the holes
© Discover Paris!

Placing the screws
© Discover Paris!

Installation complete!
© Discover Paris!

The inscription on the plaque reads:


portraitiste et peintre expressioniste abstrait,

né à Knoxville, Tennessee, USA,

a fréquenté le restaurant Les Mille Colonnes

à cette adresse dans les années 1950 – 1970.

Les Mille Colonnes plaque
© Discover Paris!


BEAUFORD DELANEY, portraitist and abstract expressionist painter, born in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, frequented the restaurant Les Mille Colonnes at this address during the 1950s - 1970s.

Les Amis thanks Monsieur Patrick Fillere of J. Poulain et Fils, 19-21 boulevard de Ménilmontant, 75011 Paris, for his conscientious and caring organization of the creation of the plaque and its installation.

Stay tuned for information about the first commemorative plaque that will soon be installed, as well as the ceremony that Les Amis will be organizing to celebrate this momentous event!

Hôtel Le M
© Discover Paris!

Hôtel Le M
20 bis, rue de la Gaîté
75014 Paris
Telephone: 01 40 47 48 49
Metro: Gaîté (Line 13), Edgar-Quinet (Line 6), Montparnasse-Bienvenue (Lines 4, 12, 13)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Beauford's Self-portrait on the Cover of JAMA

In a recent Internet search on Beauford, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my favorite self-portraits of him graced the cover of the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)*.

(1944) Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The following is the abstract of the article about the portrait, written by Thomas B. Cole, M. D., M. P. H.

The skin tone of Beauford Delaney’s (1901-1979) Self-portrait is a blend of white, purple, blue, and taupe, with highlights of avocado green to match the background, and he is posed in a three-quarter turn to the right with a sidelong glance at the mirror (or at the viewer, depending on one’s perspective). His eyes convey different moods: the left eyebrow is raised in an expression of alarm, but the lens of the right eye is a ghostly white. A self-portrait invites speculation about the artist’s state of mind as well as his technique. Sometimes the state of mind of an artist is irrelevant—most of the self-portraits of Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh were probably made to try out new painting methods—but the life story of Beauford Delaney suggests he may be saying something in this portrait about his inner struggles.

The two-page article presents a synopsis of Beauford's life, including an intriguing comment in the second paragraph that speculates on the relationship of this self-portrait to the Bible's Sermon on the Mount.

What I found most interesting is the fact that JAMA started publishing full color images of art on its cover, accompanied by essays in the pages of the journal, in 1964. In an editorial article on his Web site called "JAMA is Redesigned, Art is Demoted," Dr. Jeffrey Levine states that this was

part of an initiative to inform readers about nonclinical aspects of medicine and public health, and emphasize the humanities in medicine.

Levine goes on to lament the fact that JAMA redesigned its cover in 2013, excluding art from that point forward.

*JAMA. 2013;310(7):668-669

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Self-portrait (1962) at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum

The Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (DIA) owns a single Beauford Delaney painting - a magnificent self-portrait dated 1962.

Self-portrait (1962)
Oil on canvas
23" x 19"
Detroit Institute of Arts Museum
Image courtesy of Michele L. Simms-Burton
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I contacted DIA to inquire about the painting and spoke with Iva Lisikewycz, Manager of Curatorial Affairs. She told me that the portrait was acquired by the museum from the Darthea Speyer Gallery in 1992 (Accession number - 1992.214) with funds from the DIA Founders Society. Darthea Speyer selected this self-portrait as the image for the invitation card that she created to announce the one-man show of Beauford's work that she mounted in 1992.

Invitation card for 1992 exhibit at Galerie Darthea Speyer
Image courtesy of Galerie Darthea Speyer
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The following is the description that the museum has on file for the painting:

Self-portrait of an African-American male in three-quarter view. Ochre sweater and turtleneck on bright yellow background.

Regarding the exhibition history of this portrait, the only record that DIA has pertains to the exposition entitled Beauford Delaney: The Color Yellow, organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA and shown from February 2002 - May 2003. DIA lists the venues and dates for the exposition as follows:

  • High Museum (February 9 - May 5, 2002)
  • Studio Museum in Harlem (July 10 - September 15, 2002)
  • Anacostia Museum and Center for African-American History and Culture of Smithsonian Institution (October 11, 2002 - January 4, 2003)
  • Fogg Museum of Harvard University (February 15 - May 4, 2003)

In 2013, Christie's appraised numerous works held by DIA; Beauford's self-portrait was among them. Christie's valued it at between $25K and $35K.

Christie's appraisal of Beauford's Self-portrait at DIA

The portrait is part of the African-American collection embedded within the Contemporary and Modern Art collection at DIA. It currently hangs in Gallery N 286.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Flier for Beauford's First One-man Show

On the heels of a successful show at the Whitney Studio Galleries in New York in February - March 1930, the New York Public Library invited Beauford to do a one-man show at their Harlem branch (now the Schomburg Center) in May 1930. It was to be his first one-man show.

The flier below served as an announcement of the show.

Image for flier from W. E. B. Du Bois papers - U Mass Amherst
Charcoal of a Black Woman (1929)
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It is a beautiful piece of Beauford Delaney memorabilia!

The charcoal sketch in the upper right corner of the flier was sold by Clarke Auction Gallery for $6452.50 in 2008. I do not know if it represents Portrait of a Woman or Harlem Chore Woman from the list of charcoals on the flier.