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Beauford Delaney

UT Libraries Acquires Beauford Delaney Collection


Park in Paris, ca. 1960 (Beauford Delaney Archive, Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee Libraries)

The University of Tennessee Libraries has acquired the complete personal archive of internationally-renowned modernist painter Beauford Delaney (1901–1979).

Delaney, a member of the Harlem Renaissance and one of the leading modernist painters of his time, helped revolutionize art of the 20th century through abstract and expressionist painting — all despite battling poverty, prejudice, and mental illness. He achieved an international reputation for his portraits, scenes of city life, and free-form abstractions marked by intense colors, bold contours, and expressive surfaces.

Beauford Delaney and his brother Joseph (1904–1991) — also a well-known painter — were born in Knoxville. UT’s Ewing Gallery of Art holds a large bequest of sketchbooks, drawings, paintings, and archival material from Joseph Delaney. And two other local institutions — the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and the Knoxville Museum of Art — are rich repositories of Beauford Delaney’s legacy. The Beck center has purchased the Delaney family home and is developing the property into a Beauford Delaney museum and study center. The KMA holds the world’s largest public collection of work by Beauford Delaney.


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