Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of

BEAUFORD DELANEY: SO SPLENDID A JOURNEY,

the first full-length documentary about Beauford.


Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!

TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION,

CLICK HERE.



Saturday, August 15, 2020

A Study in Portraiture - One Year Later

Just over a year ago, I had the pleasure to announce the opening of the virtual exhibition entitled Beauford Delaney: A Study in Portraiture on the Wells International Foundation's (WIF) Web site.

Curator Maija Brennan was a rising senior at Smith College when she created the exhibition during her 2019 WIF summer internship in Paris. Now employed as an oral history researcher focused on the history of African American art and artists at The HistoryMakers in Chicago, IL, she attributes her interest and skills in this area to the knowledge she acquired while working on A Study in Portraiture.

The HistoryMakers is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational institution committed to preserving and making widely accessible the untold personal stories of well-known and unsung African Americans. Their mission is to create a more inclusive record of American history.

Today, I'm bringing you a few of the portraits that Brennan selected for the virtual exhibition. Click on the hyperlinked title for each image to go to the exhibition and read the information there.


Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man), 1928
Charcoal on paper Knoxville Museum of Art 2017 purchase with funds provided by the Rachael Patterson Young Art Acquisition Reserve © Estate of Beauford Delaney by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator Image courtesy of the Knoxville Museum of Art

Untitled (Portrait of a Young Man)
(circa 1930-35) Color pastels and charcoal on gray, textured wove paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

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

Auto-portrait
(1965) Oil on canvas
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Seventeen (17) additional portraits are featured in A Study in Portraiture. I strongly encourage you to visit the Wells International Foundation's Website to see them!

Beauford Delaney: A Study in Portraiture

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Beauford and Marcel Duchamp

Thanks to Peter Stebbins, President of the Lily and Earle M. Pilgrim Art Foundation, I was recently able to publish an article about Vincent Livelli's recollections of Beauford during Beauford's New York years.

Stebbins also graciously connected me with Kate Prendergast and Jane Barrell Yadav, the daughters of painter Marcia Marcus. Marcus and Lily & Earle Pilgrim were dear friends and Marcus' daughters are passionately working to preserve their mother's legacy.

Marcus had the extraordinary opportunity to photograph Beauford with French artist and writer Marcel Duchamp. Her daughters kindly allowed me to publish the photo below and shared the story of how the opportunity came to be.

Marcel Duchamp (center) and Beauford (lower right), 1953
© Marcia Marcus / Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Image courtesy of Kate Prendergast

An article that describes the events of that day states that:

"In March 1953, Michael Freilich, owner of the Roko Gallery in Greenwich Village, asked twenty-eight year-old Victor Obsatz to photograph Marcel Duchamp in his apartment at 210 West 14th Street. A double exposure occurred by chance, creating an overlay of Duchamp’s playful smile and iconic profile ....

"The work has since become one of the most well-known and sought-after images of the artist, and has been reproduced in many texts on Duchamp, Dada, and Surrealism, including the National Portrait Gallery’s 2009 exhibition catalogue “Inventing Marcel Duchamp: The Dynamics of Portraiture.”

Though the article mentions neither Marcus nor Beauford, both were present that day. Obsatz, who was Marcus' classmate at Cooper Union, took a photo of her sitting next to Duchamp on a sofa, with her camera lying between them.

According to biographer David Leeming, Beauford met Duchamp in New York when he visited Freilich's home. Duchamp and Freilich lived in the same building at the time.

Portrait of a man in red / Michael Frelich
(1965) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
By permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Obsatz invited Marcus to assist him at the photo shoot and Marcus took several photos of Duchamp with her camera. She is the author of the photo that places Beauford at the scene. She later became known for double imagery (reflections - shadow - mirrors) in her paintings.

Click HERE to see a couple of the photos Marcus took that day, as well as Obsatz's photograph of her and Duchamp.

The phrasing of the Moeller Fine Art article regarding the location of the photo shoot is ambiguous - it could be taken to mean that the group met at Freilich's apartment or at Duchamp's place.

Note that Beauford's Still Life with Pears is partly visible on the wall to the left of Duchamp in Marcus' photograph.

Still Life with Pears
(1946) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It is certainly possible that Duchamp owned the painting. But given that Freilich had been showing Beauford's work at the Roko Gallery since 1949, it seems more likely that Still Life with Pears would hang in Freilich's apartment. (To the best of my knowledge, this work remains in a private collection.)

Kate Prendergast found the image of Duchamp and Beauford in her mother's archived materials. In a telephone interview that she recorded with Obsatz in July 2016, he mentions that Freilich introduced him to Duchamp and indicates that Beauford was present during the shoot.

Had it not been for the legacy work that Marcus' daughters are pursuing, we may never have known about Beauford's involvement in this moment in art history!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

In a Mood

In last week's blog post, "Silencing the Voices," I talked frankly about Beauford's life journey with mental illness and the role it played in his artistic production.

I quoted Beauford's friend, Richard A. Long, who expressed his opinion that much of what Beauford created during his Clamart years reflected melancholy. And I promised to share several images of Beauford's work from this period so that you can draw your own conclusions about the mood that these works might convey.

I have previously explored the subject of Beauford's illness and its effect on his work in posts entitled "Capturing the Shock of Life" and "Melancholy, Sorrow, and Joy." I've republished images from these posts below. Click on the hyperlinked article titles centered above the images to read the original articles.

CAPTURING THE SHOCK OF LIFE

Untitled (Green Drip Abstraction)
(1958) Gouache on wove paper
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled (Yellow Abstraction)
(c. 1958-1959) Oil on paper, laid down on canvas
Image courtesy of Aaron Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled (Abstract composition)
(1958) Oil on wove paper
Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Clamart Red
(1958) Oil on canvas
On loan from a private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

MELANCHOLY, SORROW, AND JOY - PART 2

Untitled
(1961) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator


Untitled
(1961) Mixed media on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

I'm posting additional images and article hyperlinks from previous posts with the same intent:

BEAUFORD IN INK

Untitled
(1961) Ink, inkwash, and aquarelle on paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

MORE BEAUFORD DELANEY WORKS AT AUCTION

Untitled
Aquarelle signed et dated 1961, lower right
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

BEAUFORD'S SOLO SHOW AT THE PAUL FACCHETTI GALLERY

Untitled
(1960) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

CASE ANTIQUES OPENS BIDDING ON THREE BEAUFORD DELANEY WORKS

Untitled
Watercolor and gouache on paper (recto)
Signed and dated lower right in black ink, "Beauford Delaney 61"
Photo courtesy of Case Antiques
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Find additional images at the links below (look at the works mentioned below).

Swann Auction Galleries African American Fine Art Sale - Results Are in
Untitled (Composition in Green, Red and Black)

What Sold at Swann Auction Galleries' October 2017 African American Fine Art Sale
Untitled (Brown and Orange Abstraction)

Beauford at Swann Auction Galleries: April 2016 Sale Results
Untitled (Composition in Purple, Blue and Green))
Untitled (Abstract in Mustard Yellow and Gray Green, Mallorca)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Silencing the Voices

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month (formerly known as Minority Mental Health Month). It is the perfect time to shine a light on Beauford's epic struggle to deal with his inner voices - the voices that drove him to attempt suicide and fueled the expression of his creative genius.

Self-portrait
(1970) Gouache on paper
Collection of David A. Leeming
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Biographer David Leeming mentions Beauford's voices several times in Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney. As early as the first page of the first chapter of the biography, he talks about "the inner voices that in the early years only teased him [Beauford] but later gradually took over his mind." He indicates that Beauford began hearing whispering "voices of despair" while living in Knoxville and says that Beauford's only defense against them was his art.

Leeming says that by 1958, Beauford's purpose for painting shifted from attempting to ward off the voices to capturing their essence. Beauford wrote to his friend, Larry Wallrich, that year to say that he was "still trying to bring together color compositions from the strange and many-faceted thing that is my life."

Beauford's voices became more active and aggressive when he traveled. During his trip to Greece in July 1961, they taunted and threatened him mercilessly, until he jumped overboard from the ship on which he sailed from Brindisi to Patras. Fortunately, the ship was docked at Patras and Beauford was rescued (he could not swim). He was briefly hospitalized and through arrangements made by the American Consultate, he traveled to Athens, where he was met by someone from the U.S. Embassy. In the hotel room that had been reserved for him there, his voices berated and threatened him again, and he attempted suicide by slashing his wrists with a penknife. He was taken to the Embassy and authorities there had him admitted to a mental hospital.

Darthea Speyer, a devoted friend and patron, had organized Beauford's trip to Greece. She was notified of what happened and had Beauford moved to a private clinic, where he stayed for several weeks. She then organized his return to Paris, which took place on August 21, 1961.

Beauford's friends did their best to support him during the remainder of the summer and fall, but he remained physically and mentally fragile. Thanks to the intervention of Mme Solange du Closel and Dr. Ahmed Bioud, two dear friends, he was admitted to the psychiatric clinic at Nogent-sur-Marne in December 1961. Mme du Closel and her husband then purchased the apartment that Beauford would use as a studio upon his release from the clinic until he was permanently committed to Hôpital Sainte-Anne in 1975.

Beauford and James Baldwin
at Sainte Anne's Hospital, 1976
Photo by Max Petrus

Beauford had several "episodes" between his release from the Nogent clinic and his admission to Sainte Anne's Hospital. Leeming's most vivid description of these pertains to the one that he personally witnessed in 1966, when James Baldwin charged him with fetching Beauford from Paris and driving him to Istanbul. Beauford could only find relief from the voices if Leeming lay in bed with him:

"I got into his cot with him and together, in each other's arms, we held off the voices, which by now, I had begun to hear, too."

Richard A. Long, the friend of Beauford who organized the 1978 retrospective of Beauford's work at the Studio Museum in Harlem, wrote that Beauford's works from the Clamart years (1956-1961) were characterized by a

"frequent overtone of melancholy, imposed either by a somber palette or by the sheer power of clashing color-masses. Interspersed with these are the occasional journeys into blinding yellow and pink light..."

I don't know that Beauford's Clamart works frequently express melancholy, but I have noted that several works dated 1958 through 1961 are quite dark and brooding. I'll present images of some of these in next week's blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Beauford at Case Antiques Auction - Result

Case Antiques recently held its Two-Day Summer Fine Art, Antique, and Jewelry Auction and sold Beauford's 1964 Composition, a "watercolor on paper abstract expressionist painting featuring green, red, orange, and yellow brushstrokes ... "

Lot 150
Composition
(1964) Watercolor on paper
Signed and dated, lower right
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The estimated sale price for this work was $4000 to $4400. The purchase price was $15,600.00, including a 20% buyer's premium.

To see images of Beauford's work auctioned by Case Antiques in the past, click here.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Beauford at Artcurial Auction - Results

The Artcurial Contemporary Art auction took place in Paris on July 9, 2020. Three Beauford Delaney Abstract Expressionist oils were offered for sale. All of them sold for well above the estimated list price.

The estimated price for Lot 267, Untitled, was 60,000€ to 80,000€.

Lot 267
Untitled
(1958) Oil on canvas
Signed, dated and located on the back
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

The painting sold for 356,200€.

The estimated price for Lot 268, Untitled, was 30,000€ to 40,000€.

Lot 268
Untitled
(1960) Oil on canvas
Signed, dated and located on the back
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It sold for 104,000€.

The estimated price for Lot 269, Untitled, was 50,000€ to 70,000€.

Lot 269
Untitled
(1961) Oil on canvas
Signed and dated, lower left; signed and located on the back
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

This work (which happens to be my favorite among the three that were offered during this auction) sold for 467,800€.

All sale prices listed include Value Added Tax and a 20% buyer's fee.

For more information about this sale, click here.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Sales and More Sales

No fewer than four auction houses have presented or are preparing to present Beauford's work at contemporary art sales since late June.

On June 23, Delon-Hoebanx sold a beautiful yellow and green oil painting for 55,000€ during its XIX AND MODERN PAINTINGS & MODERN SCULPTURES sale. The estimated sale price was 10K€ - 15K€. See an image of the work here.

On July 1, Tajan sold all four works on paper presented during its Contemporary Art sale. I wrote about these works in the blog post entitled "Four Beauford Delaney Works on Paper to Be Auctioned."
See the results of the sale here.

In upcoming auctions:

July 9

Artcurial has included three beautiful Abstract Expressionist oils in its Contemporary Art sale.

Beauford Delaney expert Sylvain Briet provided Artcurial with commentary on the works. He indicated that Lot 267 - Untitled - was shown at solo exhibition of Beauford's work organized by Paul Facchetti in June-July 1960, but that it is not certain whether Lot 268, also Untitled, was part of that show.

Lot 267
Untitled
(1958) Oil on canvas
Signed, dated and located on the back
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Estimated sale price: 60,000€ to 80,000€.

Lot 268
Untitled
(1960) Oil on canvas
Signed, dated and located on the back
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Estimated sale price: 30,000€ to 40,000€.

Beauford painted the untitled work assigned Lot Number 269 during the year that he traveled to Greece and attempted suicide. According to
biographer David Leeming, he participated in three group shows earlier that year - one in London and two in Paris. Briet does not comment on whether this painting might have been shown at one or more of these exhibitions.

Lot 269
Untitled
(1961) Oil on canvas
Signed and dated, lower left; signed and located on the back
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Estimated sale price: 50,000€ to 70,000€

For more information about this sale, click here.

July 11-12

During its Two-Day Summer Fine Art, Antique, and Jewelry Auction, Case Antiques is offering Composition, a "watercolor on paper abstract expressionist painting featuring green, red, orange, and yellow brushstrokes ... Float mounted onto ivory cardstock and housed in a contemporary silver and gilt frame," which is dated "1964."

This was a productive year for Beauford. He received a Fairfield Foundation grant and participated in numerous shows, the most important of which was a solo exhibition at the Galerie Lambert.

Lot 150
Composition
(1964) Watercolor on paper
Signed and dated, lower right
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Estimated sale price: $4000 to $4400.

For more information about this sale, click here.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Dive In with the Stanley - Beauford's "Untitled (Paris)" Examined

In December 2011, I published an article about where in the U.S. Midwest Beauford's work could be found. Here's a quote from that post:

"The University of Iowa Museum of Art holds an untitled Beauford Delaney painting that dates from 1929.  It is classified as a drawing, and is not currently on view.  The orange and brown hues in this work remind me of autumn."

Untitled
(1929) Watercolor 
The University of Iowa Museum of Art
Gift of the Estate of James Lechay, 2003.5

A few days ago, I received a Google Alert about Beauford entitled "Dive In with the Stanley" that stated the following:

"This week Lauren and Uri consider Beauford Delaney's watercolor Untitled (Paris). They will go live on Instagram at 7:00 p.m. on June 23."

I contacted Elizabeth Wallace, Communications Director at the Stanley Museum at the University of Iowa to inquire about the presentation. I was told that Director Lauren Lessing was hosting the Instagram Live session and that it would be posted on the museum's Instagram account for viewing after the session was over. Director Lessing contacted me as well.

I viewed the recording two nights ago and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Director Lessing began by describing Beauford as "one of the most versatile and interesting artists of the 20th century." She talked about how he frequently alternated painting styles and how this makes his work difficult to date when Beauford did not indicate a date on a particular work.

Director Lauren Lessing and Untitled (African Sculpture)
Screenshot from Instagram Live recording

Lessing then indicated that Untitled (Paris) might not have been painted in 1929, which is the date I was given when I researched my 2011 article. She presented three additional possibilities for the year Beauford produced the painting: 1952, 1962, and 1969.

In the midst of technical difficulties and the exuberance of the family dog, Lessing invited viewers to share their thoughts about the colors in the work and presented a thorough overview of the four phases of Beauford's life as an artist. She wove artists such as John Singer Sargent, Marsden Hartley, and Sam Gilliam into her narrative and showed several works by Beauford to illustrate the salient points she made.

She concluded that Beauford likely created Untitled (Paris) in 1962.

I contacted Director Lessing to ask several questions inspired by her presentation and she was kind enough to quickly answer them for me. Find them below.

Les Amis: Is Untitled (Paris) currently on display at the Stanley?

Lessing: No. Because it is a work on paper we allow it plenty of rest between exhibitions to protect it from damage caused by UV light. At the moment, very little of our collection is on view as we are preparing to move into a new building that is under construction and that will open in 2022.

Artist's rendering of new Stanley Museum of Art
Image courtesy of BNIM

Les Amis: Is there a routine established whereby the work is on display for a certain period of time each year?

Lessing: No, but once we are in our building the painting will be accessible. We will simply bring it out of storage and show it in our studio classroom upon request to whoever makes an appointment to see it. It may be on view in our galleries during our inaugural exhibition, September 2022-August 2023, but that is still coming together.

Les Amis: When was the date of this work called into question and why? When I received information about it almost 10 years ago, I was told that the date was 1929.

Lessing: The confusion comes from the date inscribed in the lower left corner. It’s just very faint and unclear. The third digit could be a 2, a 5, or a 6. The last digit could be a 2 or a 9. While Delaney studied with a painter who loved atmospheric effects in the 1920s, I think our painting is an abstract work rather than a hazy landscape, so I think it was painted in the 60s. If I had to guess, I’d say ‘62 but it could be ‘69. If we can find a detail of the date, we will send it your way. You’re familiar with his hand, and could probably solve this for us.

Les Amis: Are the dates you give during the presentation based on the appearance of the notation that Beauford made?

Lessing: Yes.

Signature and date for Untitled (Paris)

Les Amis: Can you share references that describe the relationship between James Lechay and Beauford?

Lessing: James Lechay gave us the painting and I don’t believe we know how he got it. But he was working as an artist in New York when Delaney was also there, and they shared several friends, so I like the idea that they knew one another. A little research could confirm this. I’m certain that Lechay admired Delaney’s work. There are similarities between the two artists’ styles, and I think Delaney was likely an influence on Lechay.

Les Amis: Is the museum looking to acquire additional Beauford Delaney works?

Lessing: Although our acquisition funds are limited, we would love to have additional works by Delaney in our collection.

Les Amis: If so, are you looking for a specific "type" of work (figurative versus abstract; portrait versus landscape; oil versus watercolor or gouache)?

Lessing: He was such a versatile and innovative painter, and his oeuvre is incredibly rich and varied. I do love his portraits, and having one would be a nice complement to our abstract painting, but one of the larger abstractions in oil would also be fabulous, as would a drawing.

Director Lauren Lessing and Portrait of Gaylord
Screenshot from Instagram Live recording

Les Amis: Who is the audience for "Dive In with the Stanley?"

Lessing: Whoever tunes in! It is pitched toward a general audience, and Instagram itself tends to draw younger people, but I’m always surprised by who turns up—artists, curators, art historians, and parents at home with their children. We never know.

Les Amis: What do viewers believe is the year that Untitled (Paris) was painted?

Lessing: Most people said 1962, but I may have predetermined that.

Les Amis: Are Beauford's life and work part of any curriculum taught at the University of Iowa?

Lessing: Yes. We use works in our collection to support teaching across the curriculum. Our beautiful Delaney painting has been seen by students in studio art and art history courses, and it also has much to teach students in American Studies and African American Studies courses.

Watch the Instagram Live episode here: UIStanleyMuseum

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Four Beauford Delaney Works on Paper to Be Auctioned

Four delightful works on paper created by Beauford will be auctioned during the Tajan Art Après-Guerre et Contemporain sale on July 1, 2020.

Three of the works are dated 1968 and two are annotated to indicate that Beauford created them during a visit to the south of France.

Untitled
(1968) Gouache on paper
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of Bernard Hassell
(1968) Gouache on paper
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
Watercolor on paper
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
(1968) Gouache on paper
Private collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

In Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, biographer David Leeming indicates that the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a "disastrous effect" on Beauford's mental state and that Bernard Hassell found him wandering around Paris during the 1968 riots that took place in the French capital. He took Beauford on an extended trip to the south of France, where they stayed in Avignon, in the mountains, and at Bernard's home near Toulon.

Estimated sale prices for these works range from 1500€ to 6000€.

For more information about the auction, click HERE (Website in French).


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Beauford in 79 Minutes

After a splendid opening in February and record visitation over a period of five weeks, the Knoxville Museum of Art's exquisite exhibition entitled Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin: Through the Unusual Door was unceremoniously shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

KMA has found a creative way to keep the show top of mind. It has created a series of four YouTube videos that present various aspects of the exhibition in roughly 79 minutes.

Screenshot of KMA YouTube Video Series
Part 3 Thumbnail

Barbara W. and Bernard E. Bernstein Curator Stephen Wicks guides viewers through the entire exhibition with insightful commentary and anecdotes pertaining to Beauford's life and his relationship with Baldwin.

Part 1 of the series opens with Wicks' acknowledgment of Beauford as Knoxville's most important artist and provides an overview of the exhibition. It then presents Parts I and II of the exhibition, entitled "Portraits" and "New York," respectively.

Wicks recounts the story of James Baldwin meeting Beauford for the first time at Beauford's Greene Street studio in Greenwich Village and presents three portraits of James Baldwin that Beauford created during that period, including Dark Rapture (1941). He talks about Beauford's Auto-portrait from 1965, which was loaned to the show by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Auto-portrait
(1965) Oil on canvas
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Wicks also explores the potential relationship between James Baldwin's story about Beauford showing him an oily puddle on a New York street, the iridescent colors in Beauford's 1944 portrait of Baldwin, and the short film called "Abstract in Concrete" by John Arvonio, to whom Beauford dedicated the 1944 Baldwin portrait.

Portrait of James Baldwin
(1944) Pastel on paper
Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Part 2 presents Part III of the exhibition, entitled "Clamart," and Part IV, entitled "The Lure of Music." It opens with Wicks relating the story of Beauford's move to the Paris suburb of Clamart as he stands by Untitled (1959), one of the paintings shown in the 2016 Paris exhibition, Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color.

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

He also presents Beauford's 1968 abstract portrait of Ella Fitzgerald in this video.

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald
(1968) Oil on canvas
Permanent collection of the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah
Gift of Dr. Walter O. and Mrs. Linda J. Evans
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Part 3 opens with Wicks talking about books by James Baldwin that are on display at the exhibition. It presents Part V of the exhibition, entitled "The Call of Civil Rights," and Part VI, entitled "Transnationalism."

Among the many works presented in this video, Wicks talks about two of Beauford's Rosa Parks paintings, two iconic portraits of James Baldwin, and Beauford's portrait of Charlie Parker.

Two Women on a Bench
(1970) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Charlie Parker
(1968) Oil on canvas
Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester
Photograph by Joshua Nefsky; Courtesy of
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Part 4 presents Part VII of the exhibition, entitled "St.-Paul-de-Vence," and Part VIII, entitled "Archival Items."

In this video, Wicks compares a very early work, dated 1922, with Yellow Cypress (1972), one of Beauford's last known paintings from Saint-Paul-de-Vence -- the town where James Baldwin established a homestead in 1970.

Yellow Cypress
(1972) Oil on canvas
Clark Atlanta University Museum, Atlanta
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

He also shares information about numerous archival sketches and photographs that provide the back story for many of the works in the exhibition.

At the end of this segment, viewers can see rare footage of Beauford being interviewed in his Clamart studio.

Through the Unusual Door was scheduled to close in May. Happily, KMA has been able to organize an extension of the exhibition through October 25, 2020.

If you liked this virtual tour, get yourself to Knoxville as soon as possible so you can see the entire show in person!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Beauford and the Color "Orange"

Beauford lived through the Knoxville Riot of 1919, which left an indelible scar on his psyche.

Were he alive today, he would be deeply disturbed by the latest in a long line of publicly discussed assaults on African-American life and liberty - the murder of George Floyd and the false accusation against Christian Cooper by Amy Cooper - and the resulting protests and unlawful looting.

He would turn to painting to work through the emotions that current events would evoke in him.

I found the following interpretation of the meaning of the color "orange" in an article written by Jennifer Bourn and published on the Bourncreative Website:

"Orange is the color of joy and creativity. Orange promotes a sense of general wellness and emotional energy that should be shared, such as compassion, passion, and warmth. Orange will help a person recover from disappointments, a wounded heart, or a blow to one’s pride."

Another Website, Empowered by Color, offers the following description of the color "orange":

"Orange offers emotional strength in difficult times. It helps us to bounce back from disappointments and despair, assisting in recovery from grief."

Today I'm sharing images of several of Beauford's works in which various shades of the color "orange" are featured or dominant. I hope they lift your spirits at this incredibly challenging time.

Abstract in Orange and Red, 1963
Gouache on wove paper
© Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

Portrait of Geneviève Brouard
(1964) Oil on canvas
Signed on back: Beauford Delaney 1964
Image © Discover Paris!
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

Untitled
(1962) Oil on canvas
Signed on back: Beauford Delaney 1962
53 Rue Vercingétorix Paris
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image by Discover Paris!

Portrait of Irene Rose
(1944) Oil on board
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Photo courtesy of ACA Galleries, New York

Untitled [MR153], c.1954
oil on canvas
Private Collection; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator