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Beauford Delaney
Date: American painter, 1910–1979
Biography: Born to a prominent family in Knoxville, Tennessee, Beauford Delaney and his brother Joseph both displayed an early interest in art. Beauford received early artistic training from local painter Lloyd Branson, who encouraged Beauford to move to Boston to study art. There, Delaney studied at the Massachusetts Normal School, the South Boston School of Art and the Copley Society. Feeling he had mastered the basics, in 1929 he moved to New York, just as the Great Depression was beginning. He took a studio in Greenwich Village and made ends meet with a variety of odd jobs, including work as a bellhop, a telephone operator, and a janitor. He developed a modern style, with intense colors and stylized forms. He had friends in the literary and activist communities of Harlem, but he chose to live downtown, where he lived a bohemian life and befriended many modern artists. In 1953 he moved to Paris, where he would live the rest of his life. Late in his career, Delaney began working in an abstract expressionist manner with intense color and textured paint. By the early 1960s he was plagued by physical and mental illness and alcoholism. He died in poverty, and his work remained relatively unknown until the 1990s.

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