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Portrait of James Baldwin
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Portrait of James Baldwin

Beauford Delaney, American (active Paris), 1901 - 1979

Made in United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

22 × 18 inches (55.9 × 45.7 cm)

© Estate of Beauford Delaney by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 219, American Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by The Daniel W. Dietrich Foundation in memory of Joseph C. Bailey and with a grant from The Judith Rothschild Foundation, 1998

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This iconic painting is a very early depiction of the famous writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin, who was twenty-one when Delaney created this portrait. Closely cropped and vibrantly painted, it jumps out from the canvas, presenting an up-close encounter with the sitter. As in Delaney's self-portraits, he painted one eye slightly different from the other, a pictorial device also found in Pablo Picasso's paintings. Of the many portraits Delaney made of Baldwin, this one is among his most direct and expressive.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.