Romare Bearden was born in North Carolina in 1911. Although recognized as an artist after his first solo show in Harlem in 1940, he earned a living as a social worker in NYC from the middle of the 1930s until 1960s and worked on his art on nights and weekends. He experimented with many different mediums and artistic styles including watercolors, oils, photomontages and prints but is best known for his richly textured collages. Today Bearden is considered an artist of “exceptional talent and recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the twentieth century.”
Romare Bearden’s life and art encompass a broad range of interests, including music, performing arts, history, literature and world art. Speaking of Bearden’s work, the playwright, August Wilson said,
“What I saw was Black life presented on its own terms, on a grand and epic scale, with all its richness and fullness. It was the art of a large and generous spirit that defined not only the character of Black American life, but also its conscience.”
Romare Bearden’s work can be found in most of the major museums in the United States, as well as, the Studio Museum in Harlem which he help found. Bearden died in NYC in 1988 at the age of 76.