January-February 2007

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden is an African-American who is internationally recognized for his lifelong work as a collage artist. His work shares many captivating and inspiring stories that celebrate the African-American experience.

Collage comes from the French word coller, "to gum or stick something together." Bearden's work was created by gluing fragments of paper, fabric, scraps, photographs, drawings, and images in magazines and newspapers to a flat surface. In addition, he used watercolors, oil paints, and inks to make his collages. He enjoyed and was inspired by many art forms and styles including African, Asian and European art.

Romare Bearden was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. He moved to Harlem in New York City when he was a young child and grew up there in the midst of the Harlem Renaissance.

The Harlem Renaissance (1919-1929), was a period in American cultural history when Black Artists began to contribute elements of their African heritage and experiences in a positive way to the visual, performing and literary arts. Their art moved out of their community and into the world. Harlem became the center of this artistic rebirth period during the 1920's when Romare Bearden was a young artist. Many visits were made to the Bearden household by family friend and poet, Langston Hughes, and musicians, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington.

From the1940's through the 1980's, Romare Bearden became a presence in American art. His works reflect not only life in the big city of New York, with it's street musicians and jazz but he also created works based on his early childhood in the country setting of North Carolina.

He has had many successful exhibitions at premier art galleries throughout the United States and his work is collected by both private art lovers and international museums.

(all works in this section are reproductions of original Bearden works of art posted for educational purposes, to find out more about this important American Artist I recommend you visit: The official Bearden Foundation website)