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Lot n° 6

Beauford DELANEY (1901-1979)

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Composition, 1961 Oil on canvas. Signed and dated lower right. Signed and located on the back. Oil on canvas. Signed and dated lower right. Signed and located on the back. H_116 cm W_73 cm Provenance: - former Jacques and Solange du Closel collection - remained in the family since - private collection Exhibition: Beauford Delaney, Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color, Friends of Beauford Delaney and La Wells International Foundation, Columbia Global Center, February 4-29, 2016 Bibliography: reproduced in the Beauford Delaney exhibition catalogue at Columbia Global Center. "On November 20, 1964, a letter from Beauford tells me that his work is progressing slowly, but that it is evolving. The optimism reflected in this letter comes from the fact that he has recently learned that an exhibition is to be held at the Lambert Gallery, 14 rue Saint Louis en l'Ile, presented by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and that Henry Miller has asked Baldwin to write something for the catalogue. He adds that he is doing his best to cooperate, and also that he is continuing to work "slowly." Once again he adds, with his immense goodness, that knowing my husband and I are with him makes him happy and stimulates him "to try and do the best." Excerpt from a text by Solange du Closel Beauford Delaney The amazing and unchanging Beauford Delaney It was night when Harry took me, for the first time, to Beauford's celestial home. I shall never forget the forlorn and gloomy aspect of Greene Street. There are streets that seem dedicated to the pangs and disappointments of the artist; having nothing to do with art, shunned by all that is alive, as soon as the day's work is done, they are invaded by the sinister shadows of crime. Beauford was an artist from before he was born; he was an artist in his mother's womb and even before that. He was an artist in Africa long before the whites began to raid the continent for slaves... The night I speak of, Beauford showed us, I remember, some small paintings of street scenes. They were virulent, explosive paintings without human figures. The subject was always Green Street, in every sense, dressed only in colors, crazy with colors, these paintings were full of memories and loneliness. In the empty street, which seemed to have no way out, an air of famine passed with devastating force. It was a famine born of memories, the famine of a man alone in front of his medium in the cold room world of North America. I sit here on Greene Street, the paintings said, and I am invisible to all but the eye of D. I am the spirit of famine to all who have been denied me... I am from the heart of Black Africa, the star, the aurora borealis. I sit in Greene Street and paint what I am, my mysterious mingled bloods, my inscrutable mingled famines, my elegant and most aristocratic solitudes, the maze of my memories from before my birth. There is no sun, moon or stars here, no warmth, no light, no companionship. But in me, the amazing and unchanging of the year, are all lights, all stars, all constellations with all angels for comrades. I am Greene Street seen from the angle of eternity, I am a crazy negro as he appears when the angel Gabriel blows his trumpet. I am the solitude that plays the xylophone to hasten the term... We only looked at a few paintings that evening, but the impression I took away was one of saturation of color and light. Poor in everything but color. He was as lavish with color as a millionaire. He was in full revolt... His people have waited centuries for justice. Beauford is no different from his ancestors: he can bide his time. If Beauford Delaney fails, there are others Beauford, all gifted with the same spirit, the same endurance, the same integrity, the same faith. Henry Miller

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