An Artistic Friendship: Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno

An Artistic Friendship: Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno

by Joyce Henri Robinson
     
 

In honor of the centennial of Beauford Delaney's birth, An Artistic Friendship examines the close artistic and personal friendship between two important American artists of the twentieth century, Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno. An unlikely pair, the two became friends in Paris in the early 1950s and remained close over the next twenty years until

Overview

In honor of the centennial of Beauford Delaney's birth, An Artistic Friendship examines the close artistic and personal friendship between two important American artists of the twentieth century, Beauford Delaney and Lawrence Calcagno. An unlikely pair, the two became friends in Paris in the early 1950s and remained close over the next twenty years until Delaney's deteriorating mental health removed him from his orbit of friends and family. Delaney (1901-79), a black American from Knoxville, Tennessee, spent most of his mature life as an expatriate artist in Paris. Lawrence Calcagno (1913-93), a white American from northern California, spent much of his peripatetic career in the United States and in Europe in search of a place to call home.

But Delaney and Calcagno had many things in common. Both men committed themselves wholeheartedly to lyrical abstraction, though Delaney's work was ultimately influenced more by Claude Monet's fluid water-lily paintings than by the color-field painters so important in Calcagno's formation as an artist. Both men shared an interest in the philosophical underpinnings of their abstract work. Calcagno's abstract "landscapes of the mind"—with their recognizable and consistent horizons—derived in part from the artist's sense of the universal, yet mysterious harmony of nature. For Delaney, abstraction gave form to the "higher power" of light in the world, a light that, according to his close friend James Baldwin, "held the power to illuminate, even to redeem and reconcile and heal." Both men experienced the power of melancholia (in Delaney's case, the debilitating effects of mental illness), and both understood well the social isolation accompanying their homosexuality.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Delaney (1901-1979), a black American from Knoxville, Tennessee, spent most of his adult life in Paris; Calcagno (1913-1993), was a white artist from northern California. The two met in Paris in 1953 and remained close friends over 20 years, sharing a commitment to abstract painting. The nuances of their relationship are described in an essay, which accompanies 25 plates showcasing work by both artists. This book is published in conjunction with an exhibition originating at the Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, and scheduled to travel to several venues during 2001-2002. Distributed by Pennsylvania State U. Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780911209532
Publisher:
Palmer Museum of Art
Publication date:
04/28/2001
Pages:
72
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)

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