Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Life, Art, and Times of Joseph Delaney

"The Life, Art, and Times of Joseph Delaney, 1904-1991" by Frederick C. Moffatt. University of Tennessee Press. 2009.

This book is on the boat, and soon to hit stores...and was a real pleasure to work on! I can honestly say that working through these pages enlightened me to the work of Joseph Delaney, and made me realize what a treat his paintings are...

This book is the first in-depth treatment of the life and work of the prolific African American painter Joseph Delaney, a gifted artist whose impressive achievements on canvas were somewhat overshadowed during his long career by those of his older brother Beauford. Frederick C. Moffatt deftly interweaves biography, art history, and critical analysis in his study of this neglected African American artist.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of a Methodist preacher, Delaney renounced his family and moved to New York. Here he studied with Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League and thereafter devoted a career to figure drawing, portraiture, and to humorous interpretations of city life.

Joseph Delaney’s impact on the New York art scene was notable. Though he didn’t arrive until a decade after the flowering of the Harlem Renaissance, he kept pace with a leading echelon of African American painters and graphic artists over a fifty-year period. This group included such veteran practitioners as Palmer Hayden, Ellis Wilson, Lois Mailou Jones, and, until his 1953 departure for Paris, Beauford Delaney. Late in his life, Joseph returned to his childhood roots, accepting a visiting artist’s appointment at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Vividly drawn, judiciously researched, and copiously illustrated with both color and black-and-white reproductions, Moffatt’s critical biography draws liberally on his subject’s own diaries, essays, and poetry, as well as on numerous other sources, to offer an illuminating narrative that firmly establishes Joseph Delaney’s importance within the history of twentieth-century American art.

PRE-ORDER HERE - The University of Tennessee Press

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