Knoxville Museum of Art Announces a New Exhibition Celebrating Knoxville Native Joseph Delaney

July 31, 2018

The Knoxville Museum of Art presents Joseph Delaney: On the Move August 17-November 4, 2018. More than 40 paintings and drawings from public and private collections around the country celebrate the life and achievement of this well-known Knoxville native.

Joseph Delaney (1904-1991) rose from humble beginnings in Knoxville to establish himself as a tireless and prolific painter of Manhattan’s urban scene.  Over the span of his 60-year career, Delaney displayed a remarkable ability to express the city’s vitality using the loose brushwork of gestural abstraction, which at the time represented the cutting edge of studio practice, without sacrificing the narrative content many of his contemporaries had abandoned.  The works featured in On the Move represent the variety of ways in which he used this hybrid method to infuse his painted scenes with vibrant energy, and intricate patterns of movement.

While capturing the ebb and flow of life on the boulevards and back alleys, Delaney’s vigorous brushwork also reveals his restless spirit and insatiable creative drive.On the Move has been organized by the KMA in the hopes of generating newfound appreciation and scholarly attention for an artist who captured his time and place with uncommon energy and a fiercely independent spirit. In depicting Manhattan’s urban scenes, the artist trains his ever-shifting vantage point on gleaming plazas and gritty nightspots with equal intensity and familiarity. In some compositions, near-panoramic views emphasize the pulse of crowds within vast architectural arenas. In others, the artist focuses on specific urban structures—subway cars, bridges, and roadways—that make movement possible.

“Joseph’s brother Beauford Delaney has enjoyed the bigger national and international reputation but, here in Knoxville, Joseph is by far the better-known Delaney. Beauford returned to Knoxville for only a few brief visits after he left in the 1920s, but Joseph came back to his hometown late in life and lived here for nearly a decade before his death in 1991,” explained KMA Executive Director David Butler. “A lot of people locally knew him personally, own his works, and treasure his memory.  If you didn’t know ‘Joe,’ On the Move will be a revelation.”

The public is invited to celebrate the art and life of Joseph Delaney at the KMA Family Fun Day on Saturday, August 25 from 11am to 4pm. This event is free and open to the public thanks to the generosity of Katherine and Joe Fielden.

Joseph Delaney (Knoxville, 1904-1991)

Presenting sponsor for the exhibition is The Guild of the KMA with additional sponsorship from UBS and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

About the Knoxville Museum of Art
The Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, presents new art and new ideas, serves and educates diverse audiences, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life. The museum is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World’s Fair Park and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10am–5pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Admission and parking are free. For more information, contact Angela Thomas at 865.934.2034 or visit