Posts tagged artist
Posts tagged artist
Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, when the United States marks the contributions of black Americans to our society, science, and shared culture and recognizes the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.
Throughout the month, the AMAM blog will highlight the many works by African-American artists in our collection. Today’s work is a photo-etching and aquatint print by Romare Bearden, often noted as the first African-American artist to enter the contemporary artistic mainstream. He once said that his purpose, “…is to paint the life of my people as I know it – passionately and dispassionately, as Brueghel painted the life of the Flemish people of his day.”
Bearden’s biography reflects his diverse artistic achievements and commitment to social justice. He studied at Lincoln University, Boston University and NYU and graduated from the latter with a degree in education.
Bearden joined the Harlem Artists’ Guild in the 1930s and had his first solo exhibition in Harlem in 1940. During this era, he was inspired by many diverse sources. His visual metaphors stem from his personal life as well as historical, literary and musical sources. He studied Western masters from Duccio and Giotto to Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse. He was also inspired by Mexican murals, Byzantine mosaics, Japanese prints, Chinese landscape paintings and African sculpture, masks and textiles.
Bearden worked in various media. He is best known for his collages, two of which appeared on the covers of Fortune and Time magazines in 1968. However, he also experimented with watercolor paintings, oil paintings, photomontages and prints. In fact, he even co-wrote the hit jazz song “Seabreeze” recorded by Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie. The influence of jazz on Bearden’s artwork can be seen in their similar compositional structures and process: broken, layered pieces coming together to form a whole.
In the spirit of his Harlem Renaissance contemporaries, in 1964 he became the first art director of the Harlem Cultural Council, an African-American advocacy group. He also founded art venues such as The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Cinque Gallery, a space that supported young minority artists.
(Thanks to Alyssa Greenberg (OC ’09) for the bulk of this essay!)
Romare Bearden (American, 1911–1988)
Photo-etching and aquatint
Gift of Nancy and Mark Edelman
I was featured on Portable TV, a fashion/art/culture website based in NYC.
Some gorgeous photography by Valerie Chiang ‘15!
August 6th is Andy Warhol’s birthday. He would have been 83. This great photo was taken by Ellen Johnson, and is from the Art Department’s slide library. Happy Birthday, Mr. Warhol!
Xico González. October 8-9, 2010.