Romare Bearden, American (1911-1988). Salome (from the Prevalence of Ritual Suite), 1974. Screenprint, edition of 100, 29 x 36". Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate; art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Romare Bearden, American (1911-1988). The Train, 1975. Etching and Aquatint, edition of 125, 18 x 22 ¼". Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate; art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Romare Bearden, Many Disciplines, Many Intellectual Pursuits

Romare Bearden, American (1911-1988). Falling Star, 1980. Lithograph, edition of 175, 23 1/2 x 18". Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate; art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Romare Bearden, American (1911-1988). Morning of the Rooster, 1980. Lithograph, edition of 175, 23 1/2 x 18". Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate; art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

 

 

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
816-751-1278
Kansas City

Impressions & Improvisations:
The Prints of Romare Bearden

October 15–January 8, 2012

Artist Romare Bearden's life and art are marked by a broad range of intellectual and scholarly interests, yet the visual arts were his primary focus. Bearden (1911-1988) was a master of collage, but he was also known for his watercolors, oil paintings, photomontages and prints. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art features more than 75 of Bearden's works in Impressions & Improvisations: The Prints of Romare Bearden. The original exhibition and catalogue title is From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden and the exhibition is organized by the Romare Bearden Foundation.

The exhibition is organized into two sections: Bearden's printmaking processes and important thematic motifs. Together, these two approaches provide a broad overview of Bearden's genius as an artist: he was constantly stimulated–artistically, intellectually and emotionally–at the very deepest levels in every medium he employed.

Bearden believed the process of making art was as important as the work of art itself.

His involvement with printmaking began in 1933 with a class in linoleum block printing and re-surfaced around 1964 in the context of a printmaking renaissance that included artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Bearden?s passion for printmaking continued throughout his prolific career. Bearden revisited many of the same themes during his career: African motifs, the beauty of black women, women and children, memories of the South, jazz and blues, Greek myth and religion and ritual. Bearden?s art and life were primarily and consistently informed by his African American heritage. In his art, Bearden sought to connect the distinctiveness of African American culture with broad, universal meanings.

“One of Bearden?s favorite themes was the beauty of black women,” said Leesa Fanning, Associate Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art. “Women appear alone with their thoughts, with their families, singing on stage and as lovers and nudes. Even biblical figures such as Delilah and Salome and „conjure? women with supernatural powers are evident. Bearden?s art is infused with such spirit. It?s evident in his depictions of jazz musicians and Southern river baptisms, where you can feel the religious fervor.”

Romare Bearden, American (1911-1988). Morning of the Rooster, 1980. Lithograph, edition of 175, 23 1/2 x 18". Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate; art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Romare Bearden, American (1911–1988). Jamming at the Savoy, 1980-81. Etching and Aquatint, edition of 180, 16-3/8 x 23-1/2 inches. Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate; art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

 

Romare Bearden, American (1911-1988). Roots, 1977. Screenprint, edition of 300, 24 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the Romare Bearden Estate; art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.