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Artists

Louis Delsarte

(1944–2020)1979–80 Artist in Residence

Known primarily for his large-scale public murals, Louis Delsarte dedicated his life to capturing Black life through a form of Social Realism that also incorporated magical and spiritual elements.

Biography

As a child in Brooklyn, Louis Delsarte was surrounded by art thanks to his parents, who were friends with many Black artists and performers, such as Lena Horne. Delsarte’s mother enrolled him in art classes at the Brooklyn Museum at age nine and, from that point on, he brought a sketchbook and pencils with him wherever he went. In addition to an interest in the visual arts, he also found himself drawn to jazz musicians, such as Duke Ellington, who would go on to have a profound influence on his practice.

Delsarte found fame in the 1960s as a muralist in the downtown New York art scene, running in the same circles as figures such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, and Andy Warhol. He painted the walls of the Electric Circus, a famed nightclub in the East Village frequented by many artists. In the 1970s, he moved west and led a varied life: he painted murals in and around Laguna Beach, California; lived on a commune; and settled in Arizona, where he attended graduate school. Even after returning to the East Coast, he kept the optimism and peace that characterized his time on the West Coast as guiding principles of his murals, paintings, and drawings. In 1990, he moved to Atlanta to teach at Morris Brown College. From 2003 until his passing in 2020, he taught at Morehouse College.


Delsarte earned a BA from the Pratt Institute and MFA from the University of Arizona. His work has appeared in exhibitions at institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the California African American Museum.

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Artists

Louis Delsarte

(1944–2020)1979–80 Artist in Residence

Known primarily for his large-scale public murals, Louis Delsarte dedicated his life to capturing Black life through a form of Social Realism that also incorporated magical and spiritual elements.

Juggling Through the Fate of Vanity IPencil, charcoal, and white crayon on paper25 3/4 x 20 in. (65.4 x 50.8 cm)The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the artist1980.8

Biography

As a child in Brooklyn, Louis Delsarte was surrounded by art thanks to his parents, who were friends with many Black artists and performers, such as Lena Horne. Delsarte’s mother enrolled him in art classes at the Brooklyn Museum at age nine and, from that point on, he brought a sketchbook and pencils with him wherever he went. In addition to an interest in the visual arts, he also found himself drawn to jazz musicians, such as Duke Ellington, who would go on to have a profound influence on his practice.

Delsarte found fame in the 1960s as a muralist in the downtown New York art scene, running in the same circles as figures such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, and Andy Warhol. He painted the walls of the Electric Circus, a famed nightclub in the East Village frequented by many artists. In the 1970s, he moved west and led a varied life: he painted murals in and around Laguna Beach, California; lived on a commune; and settled in Arizona, where he attended graduate school. Even after returning to the East Coast, he kept the optimism and peace that characterized his time on the West Coast as guiding principles of his murals, paintings, and drawings. In 1990, he moved to Atlanta to teach at Morris Brown College. From 2003 until his passing in 2020, he taught at Morehouse College.


Delsarte earned a BA from the Pratt Institute and MFA from the University of Arizona. His work has appeared in exhibitions at institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the California African American Museum.

Explore further