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Beauford Delaney (American, 1901–1979)
LOT ID: 77418
Double-sided portrait, 1942

Pastel, on paper
23 х 18 in. (58.42 x 45.72 cm.)
Signed, and dated center right.
Lot description
DRAWINGS ON FRONT AND BACK OF THE SAME SHEET.

In the 1930s, Delaney became part of a gay bohemian circle in Greenwich Village that was mainly composed of white males. Plagued throughout his life by the pressures brought on by being black and gay in a racist and homophobic society, he feared even his friends in Harlem would not accept him for who he was.

A celebrated portraitist of the Harlem Renaissance, Beauford Delaney (1901–1979) was known for being a free spirit in the African American community. In the 1920s, he rubbed elbows with many of the great writers and musicians of the time, including Louis Armstrong and W.E.B. Du Bois. He was a member of the Harlem Artists Guild and received a position with the WPA after the Depression. Henry Miller found Delaney's tenacity inspiring and wrote an essay about him in 1945.

After moving to Paris in the 1950s, Delaney's mental state became increasingly unstable. Though he continued to produce work, he was eventually institutionalized, and died in a hospital for the mentally ill in 1979.

Selected Public Collections:
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.)
National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.)
Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis, MN)
Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Double-sided portrait by Beauford Delaney
  • Double-sided portrait by Beauford Delaney
  • Double-sided portrait by Beauford Delaney
  • Double-sided portrait by Beauford Delaney
  • Double-sided portrait by Beauford Delaney
  • Double-sided portrait by Beauford Delaney
  • Double-sided portrait by Beauford Delaney
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