"The chance to begin again came from Paul Facchetti, who had bought several of [Delaney's] paintings and now offered him a solo exhibition in May. Facchetti's invitation and the immense amount of work it involved distracted the painter's mind somewhat from his loneliness and his depression."
— (D. Leeming, Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, London, 1998, p. 142.)
American modernist painter Beauford Delaney is remembered for his significant contributions to the Harlem Renaissance during the 1930s and 1940s, but also for his later works in Abstract Expressionism following his move to Paris in the 1950s, which would become his home for the remainder of his life. Europe attracted many other African American artists and writers, such as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Ed Clark, and Harold Cousins, who all discovered a greater sense of freedom there. Delaney’s years in Paris generated a dramatic shift in artistic style, deviating from his figurative pictures of New York life to emotive, Abstract Expressionist studies of light and color. In the fall of 1956, as the artist was grappling with feelings of isolation and melancholy, Delaney met gallery owner Paul Facchetti, whom many herald as the first to expose Abstract Expressionism to Europe. Facchetti took a leap of faith with Delaney, acquiring several of works for his own collection and offering him his first solo exhibition in Paris, which opened in June of 1960 and was a great success. The works featured in this debut show were all abstractions, composed of rich yellows and ochres as the central colors of focus, like the present lot. The relationship that blossomed between Delaney and Facchetti shined light on the darkness experienced during a transitional period of the artist’s life, reflecting in a newfound radiance expressed through the groundbreaking abstractions that marked a new chapter of his artistic career.