“Practically all great artists accept the influence of others. But the artist with vision, by integrating what he has learned with his own experiences, molds something distinctly personal.”
At age eight, Romare Bearden moved from South Carolina to New York as part of the Great Migration of African-Americans. After graduating from New York University, he began taking art classes while working for the Department of Social Services. In the early 1960s, Bearden began experimenting with collage, the art form for which he is best known, making use of printed and handmade materials that he layered and manipulated. Bearden’s contribution to modern art was not only solidified through his work, but also through his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement and the promotion of minority artists.
Let Bearden inspire your students to:
- Cut out images from magazines and create a collage that represents their neighborhood.
- Create a work of art inspired by their favorite song or type of music.
- Cut and paste scraps of fabric or patterned paper to create a quilt.
- Work as a group to create a living image of one of Bearden’s artworks. Determine characters, setting, and props to illustrate the piece.
Books for students:
Me and Uncle Romie, Claire Hartfield
My Hands Sing the Blues, Jeanne Walker Harvey
Romare Bearden Education Resources, Romare Bearden Foundation
Inside Scoop: Romare Bearden, National Gallery of Art
The Art of Romare Bearden: A Resource for Teachers, National Gallery of Art
Children’s Guide: The Art of Romare Bearden, National Gallery of Art
Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections, The Mint Museum
Find out more from The Museum of Modern Art:
Patchwork Quilt, publication excerpts
The Train, publication excerpts