Romare Bearden Timeline/ Career Highlights Born on September 2, 1911, to (Richard) Howard and Bessye Bearden in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although Bearden left Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, as a small child, he returned often through the mid-1920s to visit his paternal great-grandparents who were property owners in Charlotte. He also traveled to Pittsburgh where he attended his last two years of high school, living from 1927 through 1929 with his maternal grandparents who ran a boardinghouse for steel mill workers from the south. These two cities as well as New York offered Bearden countless motifs that were the basis for much of his art throughout his career. Romare Bearden moves to New York with his family, where his family will later permanently settle into Harlem in 1920 In the mid 1920s Bearden moves in with his Grandparents who live in Pittsburgh to attend school there Romare Bearden began college at Lincoln University, transferred to Boston University and completed his studies at New York University (NYU), graduating with a degree in education. While at NYU, Bearden took extensive courses in art and was a lead cartoonist and then art editor for the monthly journal The Medley. He had also been art director of Beanpot, the student humor magazine of Boston University. Bearden published many journal covers during his university years and the first of numerous texts he would write on social and artistic issues. He also attended the Art Students League in New York and later, the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1935, Bearden became a weekly editorial cartoonist for the Baltimore Afro- American, which he continued doing until 1937. First group exhibition, Exhibition of Sculpture and Paintings Presented by the Art Committee of the Labor Club in 1939 First solo exhibition in May of 1940 entitled Romare Bearden: Oils, Gouahes, Watercolors, Drawings (1937- 1940) In 1941 Bearden participates in another group exhibition: Negro Art: Contemporary: The Visitation, Woman Picking Cotton After joining the Harlem Artists Guild, Bearden embarked on his lifelong study of art, gathering inspiration from Western masters ranging from Duccio, Giotto and de Hooch to Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse, as well as from African art (particularly sculpture, masks and textiles), Byzantine mosaics, Japanese prints and Chinese landscape paintings. In 1942 Bearden enlists into the army as a Private and was assigned to the First Headquarters, Fifteenth Regiment; an all-Black infantry Bearden goes onto do several more group and solo exhibitions after being discharged from the army in the mid- late 40s. Bearden is the joint author of the book The Painter’s Mind: A Study of the Relations of Structure and Space in Painting alongside Carl Holty that will not be published until the 60s. In 1950 Bearden travels to Paris under the GI Bill of Rights to study philosophy and Buddhism with Gaston Bachelard at Sorbonne and Institute Britannique In the 1950s Bearden, who has always been talented in both art and music begins to focus more on his music and helps found the Bluebird Music Company after returning to New York. In the 1960’s Bearden is featured in many publicans including Cedric Dover’s American Negro Act In 1972 Bearden is elected the President of the Board of Directors for Harlem Cultural Council. He also assumes many leadership roles in the art community. He also designs the cover of Harvard Advocates a few years later. In 1981 Bearden attends a White House reception in celebration of the publication of his print Pepper Jelly Lady in the Presidential Portfolio. Died in New York City of bone cancer on March 12, 1988, at the age of 76. Style and Media Progression: Romare Bearden’s earliest works are heavily influenced by Cubist artist such as Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall as well as his studies of African Art and tribal masks. “His early work a wide diversity of styles and influences as he searched for his own voice, a voice that, regardless of its particular forms of expression, was consistent in expressing his ethnic roots in the South, Harlem, and the West Indies.” Bearden would also be inspired by his time studying under “George Grosz at the Art Students League in New York where he was exposed both to the techniques of old master European painters and to his German instructor's own Dadaist and social/political interests.” He emulated the styles of Rufino Tamayo and José Clemente Orozco, painting simple forms and echoing the crude power he had come to admire in medieval art. His paintings of everyday black life were forceful in color; the figures followed simple patterns and their statements were literal, as in graphic art rather than painting. In Harlequin, the artist achieves his cubist fragmentation of the commedia subject by constructing it out of various papers and adding paint and ink, the whole coming together in a warm medley of oranges, pinks and deep reds. By 1960 Bearden's personal style had firmly caught the imagination of the art world. Drawing on his boyhood memories of the Deep South and his experiences as a long- time resident of Harlem, he depicted the conditions in which African Americans lived with such stark reality that the collage or montage became a powerfully emotive art form. The primary subject of the last 25 years of Bearden's art was the life and culture of African Americans. His work covered rural themes based on his memories of the South as well as urban life and jazz. In the 1980s he produced a large body of work featuring compelling images of women. In 1986 Bearden was commissioned by the Detroit Institute of Arts to celebrate its centennial. He executed a mosaic mural, done in mosaic glass, titled "Quilting Time". The work is typical of Bearden in that it is rooted in his memories of his southern childhood and depicts an important aspect of African American culture. (Culturevulture.net) Bearden Techniques: - Before he entered army service during World War II, Bearden completed approximately twenty large gouaches on brown paper of genre subjects, many of which had religious overtones. They have in common the use of large-scale forms found in the politically charged Mexican mural paintings influential in the United States during the 1930s and early 1940s. From the late 1940s through the early 1960s, Bearden's primary media were oil paint and watercolor. Balancing concepts of abstraction rooted in cubism with representational form, at the end of the 1940s he created series based on literary themes including Bible stories, ancient Greek literature, and contemporary Spanish poetry. In the 1950s and early 1960s Bearden explored abstract expressionist ideas in paintings that ranged from thinly painted surfaces to heavy impasto. Some included collage elements. - Starting with these early gouaches and continuing in paintings and collages throughout his career, Bearden added linear touches in graphite, ink, and paint to many of his works. He also made many drawings in graphite and ink, including felt- tip pen--primarily quick sketches--but also more carefully finished compositions. - Bearden studied linoleum block printing at New York University in the early 1930s, and he made a few experimental etchings about 1964. However, his serious work in printmaking, which includes approximately one hundred editions in etching, lithography, screen-print, and collagraph came later, in the 1970s. Bearden's most important printed works are the dozens of unique pieces he made in monotype between 1975 and 1983. The process is a hybrid of painting or drawing and printmaking. Bearden painted his monotype images onto sheets of plastic and transferred them to paper by means of a printing press. He often added details by hand to the transferred images, using graphite, ink, or paint. (National Gallery of Art) - Over the years Bearden's collages increased substantially in size, responding to the power of his Projections. He also added a variety of papers to his palette, including matte colored construction papers, pressure sensitive glossy laminates, brightly printed commercial sheets called Color-Aid, and wall paper and wrapping paper, as well as bright foils and patterned fabrics. Another important facet of his practice involved altering the surfaces of these papers and other collage elements in a variety of ways: adding painted areas using both spray paint and the more traditional brushed application of color; using abrasion and sanding to roughen and interrupt the plane; and removing color from both painted areas and collage papers by means of a bleaching agent. As these surface properties become more complex, they took on an increasingly painterly character, in keeping with the phrase "collage-paintings" that Bearden most frequently used to describe his art. - Although he added collage elements to paintings of the 1950s, Bearden's 1964 collages were a radical departure from those earlier works, marking a new direction in his art. They were small, measuring from approximately 5 x 10 to 13 x 19 inches, and they primarily employed snippets from newspapers and magazines such as Ebony and the Saturday Evening Post, often with linear details added in graphite or ink. Shortly after these collages were completed, Bearden had twenty of them enlarged by means of a photographic process called Photostat, popular from the 1950s through the 1980s after which it was essentially replaced by digital technology. Bearden called these enlargements Projections. Although the Projections received considerable critical acclaim when they were exhibited in 1964, Bearden never again made another body of work in this way. He did, however, add photo-static fragments to the palette of papers he used as elements in many later collages. Many compositions first seen in the 1964 collages and Projections served as the basis for Bearden's work in a variety of media throughout the rest of his career. Key Terms: Collage: A collage (From the French: coller, to glue) is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. Use of this technique made its dramatic appearance among oil paintings in the early 20th century as an art form of groundbreaking novelty. An artistic collage work may include newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork, photographs, and such, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. Techniques of collage were first used at the time of the invention of paper in China around 200 BC. The use of collage, however, remained very limited until the 10th century in Japan, when calligraphers began to apply glued paper, using texts on surfaces, when writing their poems. Lithograph: Lithography is a method for printing using a plate or stone with a completely smooth surface. By contrast with intaglio printing which uses a plate that has been engraved (engraving), etched (etching) or stippled (mezzotint) to produce cavities to contain the printing ink, lithography simply uses oil or fat and gum arabic to divide the smooth surface into hydrophobic regions which accept the ink, and hydrophilic regions which reject it and become the background. Lithography can be used to print text or artwork onto paper or another suitable material. Screen printing: Screen-printing and silk-screening are printmaking techniques that create a sharp-edged image using a stencil. A screen-print is an image created using this technique. There are a total of 15 methods of screen-printing. Photostat: A trademark used for a photographic device for making positive or negative copies of graphic matter. This trademark often occurs in lowercase in print referring to the copies themselves: "denying into evidence Photostats produced of insurance claims filed for stolen property" United States Law Week. 1. A type of photocopying machine or process 2. Any copy made by such a machine Harlem Renaissance: An African American cultural movement of the 1920s and early 1930s that was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Variously known as the New Negro movement, the New Negro Renaissance, and the Negro Renaissance, the movement emerged toward the end of World War I in 1918, blossomed in the mid- to late 1920s, and then faded in the mid-1930s. The Harlem Renaissance marked the first time that mainstream publishers and critics took African American literature seriously and that African American literature and arts attracted significant attention from the nation at large. Tale of Odysseus: The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. The poem was written at the end of the eighth century BC in the Mediterranean. The poem is, in part, a sequel to Homer's Iliad and mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his long journey home to Ithaca following the fall of Troy. Along with portraying African American culture, Odysseus is a common subject matter for Romare Bearden.
Pages to are hidden for
"Romare Bearden Timeline/ Career Highlights"Please download to view full document