Delaney, Joseph, (Nude)
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"Nude" by Joseph Delaney
23 x 17 inches (image size), charcoal drawing on paper with mat -- unframed
Joseph Delaney (1904-1991) was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and was raised in a household governed by his father, a Methodist minister. After high school, Delaney lived the life of a homeless traveler in his late teens and twenties before serving three years in the Eight Illinois National Guard. In 1930, he decided to become a professional artist like his older brother, Beauford Delaney, and moved to New York City. There he studied at the Art Students League with Thomas Hart Benton and anatomist George Bridgeman.
During the Great Depression, he painted numerous portraits on commission, was employed by the WPA (1936-1939), and exhibited yearly in the Washington Square Park Outdoor Art Show. Known for densely narrative paintings focused on New York City's people and places, Delaney was drawn to the human figure and the events, struggles, and triumphs of ordinary existence. In 1985, Delaney returned to Knoxville to live out the remainder of his life. He stayed an artist in residence at the University of Tennessee, which mounted his first retrospective in 1986.