Beauford Delaney Composition 16 1954-56

  • Not on view

In 1953, at the age of fifty-two, Delaney left New York for Paris, where he would live for the rest of his life. Delaney did not begin to paint gestural abstractions such as this one until after this move. He began Composition 16 the following year, the “16” probably meaning that this was his sixteenth painting in Paris. Using densely applied oils to paint ribbonlike swirls in greens, reds, and yellows—colors that would dominate his palette in both abstract and figurative works over the next two decades—Delaney realized his goal to “remember the sculpture and structure of color.”

Gallery label from "Collection 1940s—1970s", 2019
Oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 37" (80 x 94 cm)
Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds
Object number
© 2024 Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator.
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].