Romare Bearden Essay

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The artist, Romare Bearden (1911-1988), was featured at Atlanta’s High Museum as “The Art of Romare Bearden.” Bearden’s collection was on the fourth floor of the museum and at the entrance to his collection, his pieces were displayed in chronological order. Bearden’s usage of color was more in dark, warm tones. Several of his pieces did not contain bright, vivid colors that one might expect to find from a modern artist. However, his collages and later works of watercolors were very bright and vivid in color. A couple of his artworks for example, “The family, 1941” and “The visitation, 1941” were among his early collection. Both of these pieces were very similar in style: the paintings were abstract, however, were drawn to scale. He painted the people to have comparable, dominating features: long flat noses, full lips and dark skin. In “The visitation, 1941,” the visual point is the faces of the two women. Their expression is one of sadness or maybe confusion. Later I learned, this is a portrait of a Bible story when Mary visited Elizabeth. One of the women looks as though she told the other woman something important, and the two women are gesturing as if to count. In “The family, 1941,” the visual point in this portrait is the woman, which she is off centered. She is holding a child who looks at a man’s hand. His fingertips are directly under her face, giving a triangular implied line to the visual point. One has to wonder, though, why the woman has a look of downtrodden upon her face. Bearden gave an illusion of light in many of his paintings from the early years. The collages he did were all uniquely done. For example, “The Street, 1964,” Bearden uses clipping of African Americans to conform his figures. The faces are all geometrically correct i.e. eyes, nose and mouth; however, the contents of the face, i.e. eyes, nose, and mouth are not

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