Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thankful Thursday- Beauford Delaney, American Artist

 Street Scene by Beauford Delaney
Beauford Delaney (1901 - 1979) was a consummate artist and a warm-hearted man.

This is my favorite artist that many people have never heard of.  

I think the best biography of his life is this:  Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney by David Leeming - He's been overlooked as an artist and I have been inspired by art as well as what I've read about his gentleness and charm.  He was friends with Georgia O'Keeffe who painted this portrait of him--

Beauford Delaney by Georgia O'Keeffe

I am amazed how much hasn't been written about him, but I'm thankful for this blog: Le Amis de Beauford Delaney for keeping his memory alive.

Here's a link to more of his paintings.

And this, a short summary of who he was--

"Beauford Delaney was a celebrated artist who was part of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1930's and 40's. Beauford moved to Paris in 1953 where he developed a distinct style of abstract impressionism, and became a mentor and friend to expatriate writers James Baldwin and Henry Miller."  From a Tale of Two Brothers by Jack Neely.

as well as this from his brother, Joseph Delaney:

First and last, Beauford is an artist - one of the most sensitive and talented of all artists of all times. To qualify that broad statement would explore all of the qualities which make for the enigma which genius is ... whatever that is. Some creativity trained and inspired by life, living also with a personality void of definition, this unusual person was spotted early in his life. Scholars of all grades in school as well as teachers and professional people of high rank gave Beauford time and understanding.

Those early years which Beauford and I enjoyed together I am sure shaped the direction of our lives as artists. We were constantly doing something with our hands - modeling with the very red Tennessee clay, also copying pictures. One distinct difference in Beauford and myself was his multi-talents. Beauford could always strum on a ukelele and sing like mad and could mimic with the best. Beauford and I were complete opposites: me an introvert and Beauford the extrovert. Beauford went on to cultivate a taste for the opera and other great classics in music and literature.

He was never happier than the day in 1969 when I visited Paris. He took me to the French Opera which is truly great but I will settle for the Moulin Rouge any time.


I am thankful to be able to share Beauford Delaney with you and am thankful for his art.


  1. I'm one of those who is hearing of him for the first time, he was talented I must say


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