Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald

"Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald" encapsulates Beauford Delaney's range of artistic styles, marrying gestural abstract mark making with portraiture. His figurative works, which included portraits of other notable artists of the time such as Duke Ellington and Marian Anderson, turned ever more abstract and into complete non-representation after Delany moved from New York to Paris in the early 1950s. He would remain in Paris for the rest of his life. This portrait parallels this stylistic shift as the characteristics of Ms. Fitzgerald's face subtly emerge from, or disappear into, the expansive field of color and texture around her. Delaney used color in expressive and symbolic ways, with yellow being a common hue used to reference illumination and healing.

Beauford Delaney
24" x 19.5" Oil on canvas 1968

The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art

One of the most important collections of African American visual art dating from the 18th century to the present, the collection includes 62 works from Edward Bannister, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert S. Duncanson, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence and others. This collection forms the foundation of a multidisciplinary center for the study, understanding and appreciation of African American art and culture. Items from the collection have previously rotated in the Evans Center Gallery and through unique exhibitions such as the 2012 "Life's Link: A Fred Wilson Installation," and the 2017 travelling exhibition of Jacob Lawrence's work.

1968
24" x 19.5"
Oil on canvas
Not On View