Joseph Delaney (1904-1991)
Thanksgiving Day Parade with Danny Kaye was Young, 1940
oil on paperboard
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Joseph Delaney and his older brother, Beauford, were both born in Knoxville, TN, and discovered their love of art by drawing on cards at Sunday School.  As a young man, Joseph hopped on freight trains and worked odd jobs, eventually finding himself shooting pool in Chicago with some of the biggest names in 1920’s jazz.  In the early 1930s, he moved to New York, where he studied with Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League.  By the time he captured the color and energy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1940, he had become deeply involved with the Work's Progress Administration (WPA) Art Project. We can see his life-long love of music and portraiture in many of his works, including this painting, which likely references the vaudevillian-turned-movie star Danny Kaye.