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Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color

Collage of Beauford Delaney works (details) © Estate of Beauford Delaney by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

The Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition was the first solo exhibition of Beauford Delaney’s work to be held in Paris since the 1992 show at the Darthea Speyer Gallery.  It regrouped over 40 paintings and works on paper from the artist’s Paris period and featured abstract expressionist works as well as portraits and landscapes.  All were from private collections and the majority had never been seen by the public prior to this showing.

Beauford Delaney (1901 – 1979) was a consummate artist and a warm-hearted man. He was a great teacher and a great listener. He was psychologically troubled, yet a profound inspiration to many. His life and his talent were gifts to the world.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Delaney was an exceptional modernist painter. He spent the last 26 years of his life in Paris, France, where he produced many of the most powerful abstract expressionist and figurative works of his career. He died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery outside the city.

James Baldwin owed a great deal to his friendship with Beauford Delaney. In The Price of the Ticket, Baldwin pays tribute to this man, whose unshakable example of “courage and integrity, humility and passion” gave him the strength to survive and the ability to hope for a future.

Delaney’s work is found in the collections of some of the most prestigious museums in the U.S.:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  • National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

The French government owns Delaney paintings, as does the Centre Pompidou, France’s National Contemporary Art Museum. But the artist’s work has yet to achieve the widespread international acclaim that it deserves.

Beauford Delaney 1953 – Photo by Carl Van Vechten

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