Monday, June 24, 2013

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden was originally from Charlotte, North Carolina.  Grew up during the heart of the Harlem Renesance and graduated from NYU.  He was surrounded by the New York city jazz scene and was lucky enough to call Duke Ellington one of his first patrons. He began his collage works in the 1960s after working mostly in the realm of abstract painting.
 "Born into a middle-class, educated family, he chose subjects for many of his paintings and collages that represent a life of agrarian toil. An early trauma came in 1914, when the artist was 3. Walking one day a few blocks from his family’s grocery store, Bearden, who was light-skinned, with curly blond hair, was nearly snatched by a white mob from his darker-skinned father. Shortly after that, the family migrated north to Harlem, and Bearden’s South became, as he put it, “a homeland of my imagination.” One essay in the catalog argues that over the next 45 years, Bearden in his art “returned to family scenes that he could not possibly remember.”NYT
 NPR's Neda Ulaby reporteded on The National Gallery of Art's retrospective of Bearden's work in 2003.  It was The Gallery's first major retrospective of an African-American artist.