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Beauford Delaney

American, 1901–1979

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Beauford Delaney

American, 1901–1979

498
Followers
Biography

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 commentary.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Whitney Biennial
Biography

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 commentary.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Whitney Biennial
Shows Featuring Beauford Delaney
Articles Featuring Beauford Delaney
The Mother-Daughter Duo Who Amassed an Incredible Trove of African American Art
Mar 23rd, 2020
The Mother-Daughter Duo Who Amassed an Incredible Trove of African American Art
The Smithsonian’s New African-American Museum Gives a Powerful Portrait of Black Experience
Sep 22nd, 2016
The Smithsonian’s New African-American Museum Gives a Powerful Portrait of Black Experience
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