Delaney’s Baldwin, and Baldwin’s Delaney

Beauford Delaney’s portrait of James Baldwin, completed in 1945, is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the end of January, 2006.

The two men met in 1940. In hindsight, Baldwin called Delaney:

the first walking, living proof, for me, that a black man could be an artist. In a warmer time, a less blasphemous place, he would have been recognized as my Master and I as his Pupil. He became, for me, an example of courage and integrity, humility and passion. An absolute integrity: I saw him shaken many times and I lived to see him broken but I never saw him bow.


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