New York

Beauford Delaney, Untitled, 1963, oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 19 1/2".

Beauford Delaney

Levis Fine Art

Beauford Delaney, Untitled, 1963, oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 19 1/2".

This was the first exhibition of Beauford Delaney’s work in New York since a solo presentation at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002, and it couldn’t have been more timely. In his lifetime (1901–1979), Delaney’s uneasy oscillation between abstract and figurative modes of painting was probably pretty hard for viewers to wrap their heads around; these days it’s almost par for the course. He was passionately championed by literary lions such as James Baldwin (for whom he was something of a father figure) and Henry Miller, but his place in the history of art still seems uncertain. Yet as time goes on, the quality of his work grows clearer. Perhaps it was just Delaney’s bad luck to be a contemporary of the likes of Newman, Rothko, and de Kooning; in an era enamored with the big canvas and the big gesture, neither one was his style. Although many of his abstract works approximate

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