Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is partnering with the Wells International Foundation (WIF) to take the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition to the U.S.!

We value your support!

(All or part of your gift through WIF may qualify as a charitable deductible in the U.S.)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Beauford Viewed through the Eyes of Children

The Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville project that connects children at the Jean Zay Elementary Public School in Paris' 14th arrondissement with children at the Nature's Way Montessori School in Knoxville, Tennessee through Beauford's life and art continues to exceed expectations! The American kids are learning French, the French kids are learning English, and both groups are anticipating being able to meet face-to-face in the fall.

Between the video conference held on February 2 and the one held on March 9, the students created clay sculptures of Josephine Baker and her cheetah, Chiquita. These were inspired by the story about Beauford and his brother, Joseph, modeling red clay during their youth and the information presented about how Beauford admired Baker and followed her career.

Jean Zay sculptures of Josephine Baker
Image courtesy of Jean Zay Elementary School

Jean Zay sculptures of Josephine Baker
Image courtesy of Jean Zay Elementary School

The Knoxville students even glazed their sculptures.

Nature's Way sculptures of Josephine Baker and Chiquita
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

Nature's Way sculptures in kiln
Image courtesy of Nature's Way Montessori School

During the March 9 videoconference, the children asked each other numerous personal questions, such as whether they have pets, whether they prefer painting to sculpting, what kinds of sports they play... Jean Zay kids had their questions written in English with French phonetics to help them pronounce their words properly.

Jean Zay sculptures of Josephine Baker
© Wells International Foundation

On the Knoxville side, the children told coordinator Mary Campbell what they wanted to say and she instructed them how to say it in French.

Nature's Way kids and coordinator Mary Campbell on screen
© Wells International Foundation

There was more talk of food as well, with kids sharing that they enjoy eating spaghetti and meatballs, samoussas, and apples, among other things.

The Jean Zay children sang two songs for the Knoxville kids: "J'ai Deux Amours" by Josephine Baker, and Ten Little Witches!

Announcement for Witches song
© Wells International Foundation

Children singing "Ten Little Witches"
© Wells International Foundation

Just before wrapping up this session, the Jean Zay kids shared their pastel portraits of Beauford, inspired by the self-portrait that graces the cover of the catalog for the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color art exhibition.

Jean Zay student holding Resonance of Form catalog
© Wells International Foundation

Displaying Beauford Delaney Portraits for Nature's Way kids
© Wells International Foundation

Posing with Beauford Delaney Portraits
© Wells International Foundation

For more images of these portraits and the clay sculptures of Josephine and Chiquita, click on the links below:

Nature's Way - Working with Clay
Jean Zay - Working with Clay
9 March 2018 Session
Beauford Delaney Portraits

And continue to watch this blog for updates on the project!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Beauford at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery

Focus on Abstract Gems is the current exhibition being shown at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York.

A description of the exhibition on the gallery Web site indicates the following:

Our charming exhibit of small paintings, paper pieces, and sculptures are worth the trip. These works adhere to the gallery’s focus of abstract expressionist style, but offers an eclectic variety of genre, medium and eras. It exposes rare drawings, prints, photographs and paintings from some of the most significant artists of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Among the works on paper is Beauford's Untitled (Ibiza).

Untitled (Ibiza)
(1956) gouache and watercolor
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

It came from the traveling exhibition An Artistic Friendship: Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno, which originated at the Palmer Museum of Art (Pennsylvania State University) in February 2001.

Anita Shapolsky has exhibited works by Lawrence Calcagno for many years. She purchased this Beauford Delaney work while it was in a joint exhibition with Lawrence Calcagno works at her gallery.

She commented on Beauford's art as follows:

"From the works that I have seen, I feel that they are lyrical, colorfield abstractions."

Focus on Abstract Gems will be on display through April 7, 2018.

Anita Shapolsky Gallery
AS Art Foundation
152 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
Telephone: 212.452.1094
Internet: http://www.anitashapolskygallery.com/

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Beauford Delaney Abstract Finds Permanent Home at the Mint Museum

One of my favorite Beauford Delaney abstracts is Untitled (1959), an oil on canvas that Beauford gave to a private collector in Paris.

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

In April 2017, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC purchased the painting with funds from The Katherine and Thomas Belk Acquisition Fund. It now hangs in the new re-installation of the museum's modern and contemporary galleries, where it hangs alongside works by Grace Hartigan, Elaine deKooning, Lynne Drexler, and other American artists who explored many avenues of abstraction. It is the first Beauford Delaney work that the museum has acquired.

Mint Museum Modern and Contemporary Galleries
(Untitled is shown at the far right)
Image courtesy of Mint Museum

Jonathan Stuhlman, Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art, graciously granted me an interview about the acquisition. He told me that he selected this piece from 5-6 large scale Beauford Delaney abstracts that he was fortunate enough to have viewed simultaneously.

One of the considerations for the purchase of this particular work was the desire to acquire something unique compared to the other Beauford Delaney paintings that could be seen in the region at the time. Museums in Atlanta, GA; Norfolk, VA; Richmond, VA; Greenville, SC; and Greensboro, NC own works by Beauford and the majority of these are portraits.

Other considerations included the Mint's desire to add to its collection of Post-war abstractions, to continue to collect works by artists from North Carolina and the surrounding region, and to diversify its collection of works by African-American artists. (The Mint Museum has an impressive collection of works by Romare Bearden but not many works by other African-American artists.)

When Stuhlman saw Untitled, his "eyes were opened" to the wide variety of ways that Beauford applied paint to canvas. He was drawn to the "energy and vibrancy" of the brushwork and the colors in this painting and he expressed how he appreciates the "interactivity" among the colors in the work. In describing it, he said:
[Beauford] has a fabulous sense for all different shades of color ... there's strong yellow to this work, but the way it interacts with the rich variety of turquoise blues and the rose colors ... this is a fabulously active and energetic canvas. It's bursting with energy!

Stuhlman included the following statement in the label that is affixed to the wall next to Untitled:

Delaney poured all of himself into his art, a quality that is almost palpable in this dynamic canvas. Writing about Delaney’s paintings in 1962, artist and critic Paul Jenkins could easily have been referring to Untitled: “The structure was there in each painting, but one senses more of a veil than a grid. It was as if he had cut hundreds of flowers and crushed them. Stems and all.”

Untitled was shown at the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition in Paris in 2016. It is one of the works that is "augmented" with the Blippar app. The Mint Museum is considering making the app's content available to visitors so they can view spoken word artist Mike Ladd reciting the poem he was inspired to write when he viewed the work. The museum has obtained a catalog from Resonance of Form for its library and is considering offering it for purchase in its gift shops.

Catalog cover

Soon after it was purchased, Untitled was hung in the museum's atrium for 4-5 months in a space reserved for new acquisitions. In January 2018, it was placed on permanent display in the modern and contemporary galleries and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

East Tennessee History Center Acquires Part of Beauford Delaney Archives

On January 27, 2018, Case Antiques of Knoxville, Tennessee sold a bundle of Beauford Delaney memorabilia during its Historic Winter Auction.

Paintbrushes and pencils, French Lesson, Letters
Image from Case Antiques Web site

The successful bidder was the East Tennessee History Center, which is also located in Knoxville.

East Tennessee History Center
© Wells International Foundation

The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee History Center is the sponsor for an historical marker that will honor Beauford and his brother, Joseph, in Knoxville. The center aspires to eventually house the entire archive held by the Beauford Delaney estate and thereby contribute to the fulfillment of the mission of Knoxville's "Gathering Light" project to make Knoxville a center of excellence for the study of the Delaney brothers' art.

The purchase consisted of the following:
  • three letters, all of which were written by Beauford and addressed to his brother, Samuel (Emery) Delaney
  • a greeting card sent to Beauford's niece, Ogust Delaney Stewart, from his friends, Dolly and Al Hirschfeld
  • an 14 1/8" H x 8 5/8" W card (unsigned) on which is drawn a pencil sketch of figures that illustrate the mathematical sum of "2+2"
  • numerous paintbrushes and drawing pencils
Bidding for this lot was spirited and the purchase price was well over four times the highest estimated bid.

(The Schomburg Center in NYC also has a Beauford Delaney archive.)