The Artist: Louis Delsarte

Artist Statement:

I am constantly searching for meaning in my life as I create. This revelation, or act of discovery through experimentation, has been a lifelong process. My work is really spiritual in the sense that I am always thinking of this life and what it really means. How does one document these experiences that you go through? How do you document life, death, tragedy, happiness, sorrow and birth? Freely, with the joy and passion of the creative process, I have discovered through trial and error the use of texture, color and form, and that the abstraction of space is perhaps more important than the subject matter. The figure is within the composition as an element of form. In my abstractions, the images relate to light and space; however, the subject matter often depicts African American themes. When I paint, I seek beauty in my work. Painting is a form of prayer and keeps me connected to God. Since the beginning of my career, I have retained my vision of Romanticism and the unknown. My surrealistic nature inspires the creation of masks suggesting the hidden universality of people of all races. I am inspired by memories from the past. The souls of loved ones are an integral part of my dreams and visions. The voices of the ancestors speak through me. My work is an interpretation of our communication. This spirit stirs a creative energy in me that moves with joy and passion, and sees through the uninhabited vision of a child. — Louis Delsarte


Louis J. Delsarte, a painter, muralist and printmaker, studied at Pratt Institute (BFA) and University of Arizona (MFA), with additional study at Brooklyn College in New York City. Absorbing influences from artists as wide-ranging as Hans Hoffman, Sam Gilliam and Romare Bearden, Delsarte created his own style that combines narrative figuration with abstraction values expressed through color and gestural brushwork. His strong interest in light is evident in the use of bright colors, color washes, mottled color effects, and a general preference for highlighting throughout the pictorial surface. His profound understanding of narrative, sophisticated compositional skills and drawings skills have brought him a number of significant mural commissions, including Spirit of Harlem and Transitions both for New York City, and Dreams, Visions and Change: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at the Peace Plaza in Atlanta, GA, among others. Delsarte has been a resident artist at New York University, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, Howard University and Miami-Dade University. Presently Professor of Art at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, he previously taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Ithaca College, NY, Montclair State University, NJ, and Spelman College, Atlanta, GA. He has been featured in many one-person and group shows throughout the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the National Gallery of Art in Bermuda, and his work has also been widely collected by museums and private individuals.

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Learn more about the author of this article: Edmund Barry Gaither