Visual Encyclopedia

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden (September 2, 1911 – March 12, 1988) was an African-American artist. He worked with many types of media including cartoons, oils and collages. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, educated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bearden moved to New York City after high school and went on to graduate from NYU in 1935. He began his artistic career creating scenes of the American South. Later, he endeavored to express the humanity he felt was lacking in the world after his experience in the US Army during World War II on the European front. He later returned to Paris in 1950 and studied Art History and Philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1950.

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Romare Bearden's work was recently displayed in the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis. His gallery was titled Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey, a collection from 1977. It retells the original Greek saga using all black characters. Larger works included his signature collage style. You can definietly see the processes behind these works--pp close you can see the rough cuts with scissors and left over pencil marks from his outlining. There were also original water color versions where the edges were smoother and details are more intricate. This work is titled Odysseus and Penelope Reunited. Info from Art history 152 Photo courtesy of

Contributed by Taylor Jackson

Romare Bearden was deeply involved with the founding of The Studio Museum in Harlem in 1968. Even today his artwork remains at the cornerstone of museum's collection. "The Studio Museum in Harlem is the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture. It is a site for the dynamic exchange of ideas about art and society" For more information visit:

Contributed by Atrice Alexis

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