Joseph Delaney Drawings, ca. 1950
An acquaintance called me and he told me that he was at a home in historic Knoxville, and it was the former home of the late Joseph Delaney, who was an African-American artist from Knoxville, and that there were some pieces in the attic that they wanted to sell. We had to make a quick decision and I purchased ten sketches from... that looked like they were from a sketchbook, but they were all individuals like this.
How much did you pay for them?
I believe it was $20 apiece.
Joseph Delaney was working in the 20th century. He and his brother Beauford both came from Knoxville. They both went to New York and studied there. Beauford went on to work in Paris and Joseph stayed in New York. Eventually, he came back to Knoxville at the request of Alex Haley, the writer. Alex Haley had recommended him to be the artist in residence at University of Tennessee. Joseph was a very prolific draftsman and these drawings are indicative of his beautiful calligraphy and incredible modeling. The drawing closest to me is made in colored chalk and charcoal. The charcoal is applied not from the tip but from the long side, so he creates this shading and these wonderful swooping lines that just really give you the sense of volume. The drawing closest to you, it's brush and ink. This lovely nude has almost a Japanese type of calligraphy with bold line, sure forms. You really feel that he's capturing the model at that pose. The market for these drawings is approximately $1,000 each. That's... they sell in New York at auctions for about $1,000 to $1,500.
So that was a really good buy considering you paid only $20 each.
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