Beauford Delaney was a major participant in the Harlem Renaissance. He moved to New York City from Tenessee in 1929 and lived in Greenwich Village and soon became an integral part of the gay bohemian community there. Swept up in the artistic fervor of the decade, he tackled important social issues such as racism, homophobia, poverty and social outcasting in his artwork. In the 1950s he moved to Paris to join the artistic community there and his works became more abstract. By the 1960s his mental health had deteriorated, only to be exacerbated by his serious drinking problem. Tragically, the last years of his life were marked by poverty and depression, and finally, in 1979, the year of his death, he was committed to a mental hospital for the insane.