Portrait of a Young Musician

Beauford Delaney (1901–1979) Portrait of a Young Musician, 1970 Acrylic on canvas 51 × 38 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the Estate of Beauford Delaney  2004.2.27

Beauford Delaney was a painter who began his career during the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and artistic flowering among African-American intellectuals and artists in New York during the 1920s. He is known for his bright use of color and impasto, a technique involving the thick layering of paint on canvas. Portrait of a Young Musician features a man with wide eyes and an ambiguous grin. Bright yellow, a vibrant hue that became the artist’s trademark, permeates the background and accents the figure.