Lobby of the Art Studio Students League, 1965, oil on canvas. Contributed photo

LEWISTON — “Joseph Delaney: Taking Notice,” organized by the Ewing Gallery of Art + Architecture, University of Tennessee in partnership with the Bates College Museum of Art, is to be on display Friday, June 11, through Wednesday, Aug. 28, at the museum, Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

African-American artist Delaney (1904-1991) took notice of life around him. He was drawn to figurative art and lively scenes of urban life, and his work focused primarily on the people and environment of New York City, where he lived much of his adult life. Delaney was an acute observer of people and their activities, and he recorded them, sometimes in paintings, but more often in works on paper — drawings, pen and ink washes, watercolors, and in the notebooks that he carried and drew in everywhere he went, according to a news release.

Delaney, who created thousands of works in a life spanning every decade of the 20th century, was recognized but never celebrated during his life. Since that time, institutions and collectors have increasingly taken notice of his work, which is now in collections including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Taking Notice is the first exhibition in New England devoted to Delaney’s work. Drawn primarily from the extensive holdings of the University of Tennessee and complemented with several works from private collections and the Bates Museum of Art, it features paintings and many works on paper, representing a breadth of subjects about life in the city that fascinated Delaney during his prolific life, including parades and protests, figure drawings and portraits, and monuments and parks in Manhattan.

Joseph Delaney in his studio, circa 1982. Contributed photo

The museum is open with free admission year-round, closing periodically to change exhibitions; check the museum’s exhibitions page when planning a visit. The museum is also closed Sundays, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and the college’s winter holiday recess which, though specific dates change each year, spans at minimum Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day; please check the museum’s homepage for holiday closing updates.

The museum is open June through August, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and September through May, Monday through Thursday, noon to  7:30 p.m., and Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The museum is also open special hours, and by appointment.

To request a tour for a school of community group, contact the museums at 207-786-6158 or [email protected].

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