Published: January 31, 2023
KNOXVILLE, TENN. — One of the top lots in Case Antiques, Auctions & Appraisals’ 2023 Winter Fine Art & Antiques Auction, January 28-29, was Beauford Delaney’s (1901-1979) pastel on paper portrait of a man, which sold for $48,000 (inclusive of premium) to a collector bidding in the room. Set against a mottled green background, the composition is enlivened by the artist’s use of swirling linework to create a network of electric blue forms that seem to radiate from the sitter’s eyes — accentuating his facial features and bust before spilling into the background. Along with the warm orange, pink and yellow tones describing the sitter’s skin, this blue is echoed subtly in the clothing and background through layers of applied color. Delaney is one of the few African American Abstract Expressionist painters to hail from the South, and interest in his work has been steadily rising in recent years. The portrait had provenance to the estate of the artist and had been estimated at $10/12,000. A more extensive recap of this sale will appear in an upcoming issue.
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