|Beauford Delaney, Portrait of James Baldwin, oil on canvas. Image via pilotonline.com, courtesy of The Chrysler Museum of Art.|
Text | Denise M. Watson for The Virginian-Pilot
Published | Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Beauford Delaney has often been described as an elusive artist, but he is present in his paintings: intense and explosive, his images crazy with rich colors, layers and shadow.
The artist, who died in a mental hospital in 1979, never saw financial success in a career that emerged in the late Harlem Renaissance era of the 1930s. But his talent attracted the friendships of artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and writer James Baldwin, who saw Delaney as a mentor.
Delaney wouldn’t be recognized as an important artist until years after his death. Alex Mann, the Brock Curator of American Art at the Chrysler Museum of Art, recently acquired one of Delaney’s most iconic paintings for the Chrysler.
Delaney’s 1965 portrait of Baldwin is now on display and will be featured as the Chrysler kicks off its African American art programming for Black History month with a gallery talk this Sunday.
“We are always looking for great pictures to add to the Chrysler collection, and I’ve been studying African American artists who were overlooked during their lifetime but now we see their work and say, “ ‘Wow, this is fantastic,’ ” Mann said.
“Anything that has a good story within it is important to me, and this picture is amazing and it’s perfect for the museum.”
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