“Our Tennessee” Celebrates UT Libraries’ Beauford Delaney Collection
The Fall issue of Our Tennessee includes an article celebrating the University of Tennessee Libraries’ acquisition of the personal archives of Harlem Renaissance painter Beauford Delaney.
One of the most important abstract painters of the 20th century, Delaney spent the last decades of his life in Paris, but his foundation and family began and remained in Knoxville. UT has invested in the preservation of his legacy by bringing this prized collection to his hometown. “This archive could have gone to any number of places in NewYork, Paris or elsewhere. By keeping it here, we secure Delaney’s legacy in his hometown, where it will reside beside neighbors and friends,” UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman said.
This article shines the spotlight on our associate professor of art history, Mary Campbell who has done much research focused on Delaney and is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled “Beauford’s Sound”. “There was just something about him that was so loving and so empathetic,” Campbell says. “You have an artist who is both contained within so many categories that the outside world imposes on him and yet is making work that speaks to some of these categories, but also fundamentally transcends that while being on the edge of abstraction and modernism.”
The article also points out that the UT School of Art’s Ewing Gallery holds a major collection of Joseph Delaney’s paintings and sketches, and notes that Bruce Cole, lecturer in Photography at the the School of Art, captured all of the Delaney art photographs.