Romare Bearden 1912-1988
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Marriage of the Viper (From the Rituals of the Obeah Series), 1984

The Green Man (From the Rituals of the Obeah Series), 1984

Romare Bearden’s work in painting and collage helped shape the aesthetic of postwar America, influencing generations of painters from his roots in the Harlem Renaissance to late-twentieth century painters and illustrators. His first show was in 1940 at Addison Bates’ gallery in Harlem, a major center of African–American art and culture. Bearden took instruction from George Grosz at the Art Students League and supplemented his degree in science and education at New York University. His early work in a Social Realist mode gave way over the years to a refined collage technique that drew from mosaic tradition as readily as modernist collage. Over the following decades, his collage technique grew to embrace a variety of media, layering cut paper along with addition of paint and drawing, earning him The New York Time’s laurel, “the nation’s foremost collageist” [C. Gerald Fraser, “Romare Bearden, Collagist and Painter, Dies at 75,” in The New York Times, Mar. 13, 1988].