Romare Bearden

  • Born 1911 in Charlotte, NC, USA
  • Died 1988 in New York, NY, USA
Influenced by his New York upbringing during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, Romare Bearden’s art reflects the diverse cultural heritage of African-American life. Bearden originally studied education and held positions as a social worker. During the mid-1930s, Bearden worked a cartoonist for the Baltimore Afro-American and took evening classes at the Art Students League with German Dada artist George Grosz (1893–1959). While his earliest works recalled the social realism of Mexican mural painting, Bearden soon incorporated references to Abstract Expressionism, Japanese woodcarving and African tribal cultures. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945, Bearden studied in 1950 at the Sorbonne in Paris. Upon his return to New York, he became more involved in social activism. In 1963 Bearden co-founded Spiral, a group of African-American artists who discussed the civil rights struggle. He was also instrumental in establishing the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1968 and Cinque Gallery in 1969. During the 1960s Bearden came to favor collage as a technique for political art. He exhibited “Prevalence of Ritual,” one of his best-known collage series, in a 1971 solo show at the Museum of Modern Art. He received many honors, including the National Medal of Arts in 1987

Artworks by Romare Bearden in the exhibition