A portrait by celebrated Knoxville-born artist Beauford Delaney is up for auction, just as the only remaining Delaney ancestral home is being turned into a museum.
A pastel portrait by Delaney will be available starting Jan. 28 during a two-day auction presented by Knoxville auction house Case Auctions. The piece has the potential to go for more than $10,000 given Delaney’s international acclaim and the growing interest in his work among museums, academia and collectors in recent years.
Delaney was born in Knoxville in 1901. Working in New York and Paris, the modernist artist became known for his portraits. He is one of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th century. He died in 1979.
Which Beauford Delaney piece is up for auction?
- The piece is entitled “Portrait of a Man” and is a pastel on wove paper, according to the Case Auctions listing. It’s housed in a gray wood frame.
- It is a bust-length portrait of a bearded man with piercing, vibrant blue eyes.
- The portrait is set against a green background with swirling electric blue forms.
- It’s an authentic piece from the Beauford Delaney estate.
How much will it cost?
- Date and time: Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023 at 9 a.m. and Sunday, Jan. 29 at 1 p.m.
- Collection size: Over 1,200 art pieces, antiques and jewelry
- Case Auctions estimates final bidding for “Portrait of a Man” could be between $10,000 and $12,000. The online bid is currently $7,500.
- The piece is in “very good condition,” and minor repairs were completed by art and paper conservator Alvarez Conservation Services.
- A modern artist who was skilled in realism, fauvism, post-impressionism and abstract expressionism styles, Delaney has received renewed admiration worldwide in recent years, and especially in Knoxville, where many of his works remain.
How do I bid?
- The in-person auction for “Portrait of a Man” begins 9 a.m. Jan. 28 at 4310 Papermill Drive, Case Auctions’ Knoxville gallery.
- Bidders can participate in person, online or by phone or complete an absentee form.
- Online bids are open now liveauctioneers.com.
- Bid by phone forms must be submitted by noon Jan. 27 and absentee bidding forms must be submitted by 5 p.m. Jan. 27.
- More bidding details can be found at caseantiques.com.
What is Delaney’s art legacy?
- Beauford Delaney became a prominent artist during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s and ’40s. He is considered among the greatest abstract painters of the 20th century, according to the Knoxville Museum of Art.
- A modernist painter known for his portraits, he was influenced by artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. Delaney experimented with multiple styles, especially abstract expressionism is his later career.
- Delaney studied art in Boston, pursued an art career in New York and then moved to Paris in 1953, which offered greater freedom for African Americans.
- His lifelong friend James Baldwin stated that Delaney’s compositions “held the power to illuminate, even to redeem and reconcile and heal.”
- Baldwin also wrote that Delaney was “the first living proof, for me, that a black man could be an artist.”
Delaney’s Knoxville ties and the Delaney Museum
- Beauford Delaney was born in Knoxville in 1901. His childhood home was located on Vine Avenue. It was destroyed during Knoxville’s urban removal.
- He was mentored by famed Knoxville artist Lloyd Branson.
- The last remaining ancestral Delaney home in Knoxville is under renovation to become the Delaney Museum through a project by Beck Cultural Exchange Center, which purchased the property in 2015. The home is next to the Beck Center on Dandridge Avenue.
- The Delaney Museum will not only be a permanent exhibit of the Delaney family history but also will have an artist-in-residence program to bring fresh talent to Knoxville and showcase African American artists.
What else is up for auction?
- Case Auctions’ winter event is headlined by 20th century art and a full list of items up for auction is available at caseantiques.com.
- Traditional antiques from a collection of 18th century American furniture, rare books, maps and documents, and an array of European and Southern decorative arts also will be featured at the auction.
- In addition to Delaney, pieces by prominent African American artists such as Nashville sculptor William Edmondson, painter Merton Simpson, Geoffrey Holder, Grafton Tyler Brown and Helen Lafrance are up for auction Jan. 28-29.
Here’s some other art by Delaney
Devarrick Turner is a trending news reporter for Knox News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Devarrick on Twitter @dturner1208. Enjoy exclusive content and premium perks while supporting strong local journalism by subscribing at knoxnews.com/subscribe.
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