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Two Figures In An Interior With Chair.

Romare Bearden (1911-1988)

Romare Bearden was born in 1912 in Charlotte, North Carolina, but raised largely in New York City. His parents were active participants in the Harlem Renaissance, (his mother was the New York editor of the Chicago Defender), which provided the artistic and intellectual foundation for him to emerge as an artist of genuine talent, versatility, and conviction. Bearden studied at New York University, the Art Students League with George Grosz, and Columbia University. He was involved with the earliest incarnation of the Harlem Artists Guild and Charles Alston’s 306 group. After serving with the army, he was able to travel to Paris and study at the Sorbonne. When he returned from his travel, his work became more abstract. His early Social Realist works gradually gave way to cubism in the mid 1940’s while he began exploring religious and mythological themes. 

In the early 1960’s, Bearden joined the artist collective Spiral. He began making collages as “an attempt to redefine the image of man in terms of the black experience.” Bearden’s early collages were composed primarily of magazine and newspaper cuttings. Together with his Projections, which were enlarged photostatic copies of these collages, they mark a turning point in his career and received critical praise. 

Bearden achieved success in a wide array of media and techniques, including watercolor, gouache, oil, drawing, monotype, and edition prints. He also made designs for record albums, costumes and stage sets, and book illustrations. Bearden opened Cinque Gallery with fellow artists Norman Lewis and Ernest Crichlow and was founding member of the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Black Academy of Arts and Letters. His work is included in major public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY. 

Recent exhibitions of his work include: Romare Bearden: Artist as Activist and Visionary, showing from January 30, 2020 – May 1, 2020 at the David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland College Park, MD; Abstract Romare Bearden, February 13, 2020 – March 28, 2020, DC Moore Gallery, NY; and Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series, February 28, 2020 –May 24, 2020, Cincinnati Art Museum. His work was also part of the exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983.

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