Beauford Delaney
American, 1901-1979
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
Beauford Delaney and Herbert Gentry: Breaking the Barrier of Blackness,
Levis Fine Art
Circa 1970,
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Beauford Delaney: Liquid Light: Paris Abstractions,
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

A Harlem Renaissance painter who highlighted that which was often overlooked, Beauford Delaney focused on people on the fringes of society. Working in a lyrically abstract style, Delaney sought to reveal the essence and enigma of forms and figures. He worked primarily with pastels during the 1930s and began experimenting with street scenes during the 1940s, producing bright swaths of paint in heavy impasto. After moving to Paris during the 1950s and gaining exposure to influential literary circles and jazz clubs, Delaney began to work in a nonrepresentational, expression-driven style. Inspired by the improvisation of jazz music, his works grew increasingly unpredictable and nontraditional. While his subject matter addressed post–Great Depression poverty, homelessness, and black disenfranchisement, Delaney was ultimately more concerned with self-expression and self-discovery than social …

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