The Knoxville Museum of Art Presents Gathering Light: Works by Beauford Delaney from the KMA Collection

April 11, 2017

The Knoxville Museum of Art presents Gathering Light: Works by Beauford Delaney from the KMA Collection May 5-July 23, 2017. Gathering Light includes more than 30 of Delaney’s paintings and drawings—nearly all of which have never before been on public view—that were purchased from the artist’s estate between 2014 and 2016 in what is one of the most significant art acquisition in the KMA’s 27-year history. The acquisition and display of these works are part of a larger effort to bring long-overdue attention to Delaney’s legacy in his hometown.

Beauford Delaney (Knoxville 1901-1979 Paris) is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Despite battling poverty, prejudice, and mental illness, he achieved an international reputation for his portraits, scenes of city life, and free-form abstractions marked by intense colors, bold contours, and vibrant surfaces. The KMA’s growing collection promises to serve as a vital resource for the preservation and celebration of this East Tennessee master’s work.

The paintings and drawings in Gathering Light were purchased with funds provided by the Rachael Patterson Young Art Acquisition Reserve (part of a major gift from the Aslan Foundation), along with additional support from the KMA Collectors Circle, Brenda and Larry Thompson, and friends of the museum. The KMA also wishes to acknowledge Derek L. Spratley, the executor of the Estate of Beauford Delaney, for making works available for loan and acquisition. Accompanying the works acquired by the KMA are also a small selection of paintings from the artist’s estate that the museum hopes to raise funds to purchase.

“We are thrilled to shine a light on one of the world’s greatest artists and local hero Beauford Delaney,” said KMA Executive Director David Butler. “His legacy has been recognized internationally, but he is less well-known here at home. We hope this exhibition helps to change that.”

The museum is holding an opening reception Thursday, May 4 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Presenting sponsor for this exhibition is the Frank and Virginia Rogers Foundation, with additional sponsorship from Emerson Automation Solutions; McCarty, Holsaple, McCarty; and the Knoxville (TN) chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Media sponsors include Big Wheel, Kurt Zinser Designs, and WBIR.

Beauford Delaney, Knoxville, 1969. Watercolor and gouache on paper, 24 x 15 3/4 inches,
Knoxville Museum of Art, purchase with funds provided by the Rachael Patterson Young Art Acquisition Reserve

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