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Lot 231: 6 Joseph Delaney Drawings & Alex Haley Letter
22 October 2016
Knoxville , TN, USALive Auction
Description: Joseph Delaney (Tennessee/New York, 1904-1991) archive including 1 letter from author Alex Haley (1921-1992) and 6 drawings, 7 items total. 1st item: One typewritten letter from Alex Haley on his letterhead dated March 9, 1978, addressed to "Brother Kokomo", discusses some photographs he found of Joseph and Beauford. He says he gave some of the photos to his producer to assist the set decorator in creating the set that will include Joseph's studio. He says he also enclosed some photos of Beauford in the letter and says that "You'll be glad to have them, I know." He ends the letter saying "it's very beautiful for us to be back in regular contact" and closes with "Meanwhile, warmest, buddy!". 8 1/2" H x 11" W. 2nd-5th items: Four (4) drawings of nude women, three in black crayon, one in black ink. One signed "Jos. Delaney" in black pen, below the drawing. Crayon drawings - 14" H x 17" W, 12 1/2" H x 16 3/8" W, 8 1/2" H x 11" W. Ink drawing - 11 7/8" H x 18" W. 6th and 7th items: Two (2) drawings in blue crayon of nude women. 9" H x 12" W. Biography (courtesy of Frederick C. Moffatt): Joseph Delaney was born in Knoxville in 1904. He and his older brother, Beauford, discovered their interest in art by drawing on Sunday School cards. In 1930, Joseph left Tennessee for New York where Beauford was also working as an artist, and enrolled in the Art Students League under the tutelage of Thomas Hart Benton and Alexander Brooke. The subject matter he found there, including the city's landmarks and its people, are the images for which he is best known. In 1986, Delaney returned to Knoxville to live and was artist-in-residence for the University of Tennessee Art Department until his death in 1991. Delaney's works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Chicago Art Institute, The Knoxville Museum of Art, and The Smithsonian American Art Museum. Note: Delaney and Haley began a friendship sometime in the 1940's. In Haley's "Shadowland of Dreams" he writes: "Through him (his friend George Sims) I met other struggling artists like Joe Delaney, a veteran painter from Knoxville, Tennessee. Often Joe lacked food money, so he'd visit a neighborhood butcher who would give him big bones with morsels of meat and a grocer who would hand him some wilted vegetables. That's all Joe needed to make down-home soup. Another Village neighbor was a handsome young singer who ran a struggling restaurant. Rumor had it that if a customer ordered steak, the singer would dash to a supermarket across the street to buy one. His name was Harry Belafonte. People like Delaney and Belafonte became role models for me. I learned that you had to make sacrifices and live creatively to keep working at your dream. That's what living in the Shadowland is all about". Additionally, Delaney was named artist-in-residence at The University of TN, an appointment facilitated by his friend Alex Haley. (Additional high-resolution photos are available at www.caseantiques.com)
Condition Report: 1st item: Rust mark from removed paper clip, top left. Toning and water damage. Sticker torn, top right. 2nd - 5th items: Traces of tape residue, back of top edge, and 1/2" rips, bottom edge of largest crayon drawing. Toning across top of 2nd largest crayon drawing. Corners and edges of ink drawing damaged. 6th and 7th items: 1/2" errant marks on one drawing.