Detail of a colorful work by Delaney in which the dirty streets of Greenwich Village are transformed into vibrant, joyful colors that capture his consistently optimistic spirit

Beauford Delaney

American, 1901–1979

Greene Street, 1946

Oil on canvas

16 by 20 inches

Signed Beauford Delaney and dated 46 lower left

Delaney drew inspiration for his energetic and colorful paintings of the 1930s and 1940s from his Greenwich Village neighborhood, repeatedly depicting commonplace elements such as fire escapes, lampposts, and hydrants. He had many friends among local painters and writers and was an integral part of the artistic life of the community. Writer Henry Miller recalled visiting Delaney’s apartment and studio on Greene Street and seeing “some small canvases of street scenes. They were virulent, explosive paintings…. They were all Greene Street through and through, only invested with color, mad with color; they were full of remembrances too, and solitudes.…”

Delaney employed the bold palette of the Fauves and the expressive textured brushwork of van Gogh to transform the dismal, dirty streets of Greenwich Village into vibrant, joyful paintings that capture his consistently optimistic spirit.

Detail of a colorful work by Delaney in which the dirty streets of Greenwich Village are transformed into vibrant, joyful colors that capture his consistently optimistic spirit