Last Friday's NY Times carried Roberta Smith's review of
Be Your Wonderful Self: The Portraits of Beaufort Delaney
at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 100 11th Avenue at 19th Street.
What a beautiful show. Here is a portrait Jean Genet.
and Irene Rose.
and Beaufort Delaney's good friend, James Baldwin--there are five paintings of Baldwin.
The two men met when Baldwin was 15.
In "Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin, A story of Friendship and Art," Balasz Takac says Baldwin saw Delaney as "a father figure, muse, and model of a dignified gay man of color." Delaney saw in Baldwin "a mighty intellectual and spiritual peer."
Looking at these beautiful portraits I remembered an image in one of my many books about Georgia O'Keeffe, so I googled Delaney and O'Keeffe and sure enough, this beautiful charcoal portrait is of Beauford Delaney. She did only a few portraits over her long life and five of them were of her friend, Beaufort Delaney.
Looking at this face I wish I'd known Beaufort Delaney. I wish I'd know James Baldwin. If you've read all of my posts you know about our family's special tiny connection with him. Now I wish I'd said hello to him when he walked by our house on Horatio Street.
Finding the connections among artists I revere feels like an imaginary game of "Do You Know?"
Here's something Baldwin wrote about Delaney.
"When we stand in front of a Delaney painting we are, my friends, in the light: and if in that light, which is both loving and merciless, we can confront each other, we are liberated by the perception that darkness is not the absence of light but its denial."
the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.
Here's a link to the Times piece. I urge you to read it and, if you can, go see the show.
October 21, 2021