Joseph Delaney (Tennessee/New York, 1904-1991) archive including 3 drawings and 2 letters from author Alex Haley (1921-1992). 1st & 2nd items: One type-written letter from Alex Haley on his letterhead dated Jauary 24, 1966, addressed to "Black Dog", discusses his regret in not being able to visit with Joseph on his recent trip, how things are going with his life in general including his recent book (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, based upon the date of the letter) and his hope to write a movie script for the book. He ends the letter teasing him about an encounter with a woman and promises to visit with him "a good long session" the next time he visits New York. Signed: "Every best: Alex". 2nd shorter undated type written letter signed "Alex". Pencil inscriptions on the lower panel with drawing, possibly by Joseph Delaney. Both letters measure 8 1/2" x 11". 3rd – 5th items: Two (2) small matted ink portraits of young men, both signed lower right, 'Jos. Delaney 1966', (9-1/4" x 8-1/8" and 8-5/8" x 6-7/8" sheets) and one small ink and pastel portrait of female, signed 'Jos. Delaney '88', 4-1/2" x 3" sheet. Biography (courtesy of Frederick C. Moffatt): Joseph Delaney was born in Knoxville in 1904. He and his older brother, Beauford, discovered their interest in art by drawing on Sunday School cards. In 1930, Joseph left Tennessee for New York where Beauford was also working as an artist, and enrolled in the Art Students League under the tutelage of Thomas Hart Benton and Alexander Brooke. The subject matter he found there, including the city's landmarks and its people, are the images for which he is best known. In 1986, Delaney returned to Knoxville to live and was artist-in-residence for the University of Tennessee Art Department until his death in 1991. Delaney's works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Chicago Art Institute, The Knoxville Museum of Art, and The Smithsonian American Art Museum. Note: Delaney and Haley began a friendship sometime in the 1940's. In Haley's "Shadowland of Dreams" he writes: "Through him (his friend George Sims) I met other struggling artists like Joe Delaney, a veteran painter from Knoxville, Tennessee. Often Joe lacked food money, so he'd visit a neighborhood butcher who would give him big bones with morsels of meat and a grocer who would hand him some wilted vegetables. That's all Joe needed to make down-home soup. Another Village neighbor was a handsome young singer who ran a struggling restaurant. Rumor had it that if a customer ordered steak, the singer would dash to a supermarket across the street to buy one. His name was Harry Belafonte. People like Delaney and Belafonte became role models for me. I learned that you had to make sacrifices and live creatively to keep working at your dream. That's what living in the Shadowland is all about". Additionally, Delaney was named artist-in-residence at The University of TN, an appointment facilitated by his friend Alex Haley. Condition: Toning, fold lines and edge wear to both letters. Male portraits in good condition with minor edge wear. One with old tape on edge.and round stickers fixed to upper right corners of both. Female portrait with toning from matte and one very small water dot residue above shoulder at left.
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