Bearden, Romare (rōmâr bĭrˈdən) [key], 1911–88, American painter and collagist, b. Charlotte, N.C. Bearden grew up in Harlem and studied at New York Univ. and the Art Students League, New York City. In his work Bearden attempted to come to terms with and universalize the experience of African Americans. Although his early work involved religious themes, his later production showed a greater connection with jazz and its relation to the art of collage, which beginning in the early 1960s became his most important mode of expression. An extremely prolific artist who created some 2,000 works during his long career, Bearden is also noted for his prints in a variety of media, e.g., the lithographs in "Jazz Series" (1979). In the 1960s he was a founder of the Cinque Gallery, which was intended to help young artists, and in 1963 the Spiral Group, which aided African-American artists.
See biography by J. Greenberg (2003); M. Schwartzman, Romare Bearden, His Life and Art (1990); R. Fine, ed., The Art of Romare Bearden (2003); R. J. Powell, et al., Conjuring Bearden (2006).
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