May 25, 2024

Dr. Monique Wells visits Knoxville, brings attention to painter Beauford Delaney

Dr. Monique Wells continued her mission to spread knowledge about artist Beauford Delaney, this time visiting his birthplace of Knoxville.

With her constant strive to bring more attention to American modernist painter Beauford Delaney, Dr. Monique Wells visited the painter’s birthplace Thursday, Oct. 20 during an event called From Paris to Knoxville, hosted at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

From Paris to Knoxville was a gathering to learn more about Beauford Delaney all while viewing some of the artwork within the Museum of Art. The museum currently harbors art pieces such as a pastel portrait of Delaney’s wife and numerous other pieces owned by the Delaney estate.

After the welcoming of visitors, the event led into an auditorium where the likes of Renee Kesler, President of the Black Cultural Exchange Center, and Dr. Monique Wells, herself, spoke before the 7 p.m. reception.

Information was given out about Delaney, including why Wells began her quest to enlighten the public on this artist. After finding out that the artist had an unmarked grave, she began a fund to help secure a gravestone.

During that time, she found a great interest in the artist himself and his story. Since then, she has been adamant about spreading knowledge about Delaney. The eventual laying of the gravestone featured a reception hosted by the US Embassy.

The event was just a bullet point on her exploration through Knoxville, as the Paris, France citizen was curious to find all the sights and sounds East Tennessee holds. From meeting the attorney that represents the Delaney estate to eventually gaining access to Beauford Delaney’s archives, Wells had a busy visit.

I saw countless photos, several paintings and works on paper, and a mere fraction of the documents that cast light upon the minute details of Beauford’s life. There wasn’t nearly enough time to go through the entire archive, so I definitely plan to return,” Wells stated in a blog post fully detailing her East Tennessee exploration.

Whenever that return happens, the Delaney estate will no doubt be waiting for her.

Featured image by Smithsonian American Art Museum

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

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