Romare Bearden’s work in painting and collage helped shape the art of postwar America, influencing generations of painters from his early contributions to the Harlem Renaissance to late-twentieth century paintings and illustrations. His early work in a social realist manner gave way over the years to a refined collage technique that drew from mosaic tradition, all the while creating a body of work which represented the true and inclusive human experience.
 
His frequent collaborator and co-founder of the Spiral movement, Norman Lewis, is perhaps best known for his political subject matter and mature, abstract style. He consistently drew inspiration from natural forms, and following early experimentations in social realism, later turned to abstraction as a method to gain artistic freedom and personal discovery, connecting his approaches to abstraction using representational strategies to the crises of African-American urban life and his community's struggles just after midcentury.
  • “The artist has a great responsibility not only to use himself honestly and know his medium profoundly, but to realize...

     

    Norman Lewis

    Untitled, 1962

    “The artist has a great responsibility not only to use himself honestly and know his medium profoundly, but to realize that he must communicate unique experiences so that they become unquestionably possible for the viewer, which are not dependent upon inappropriate rationales, but emerge in symbols clearly of his own time, and basic to the aesthetics of future times.”
    –Norman Lewis
    • Romare Bearden St. Martin Obeah (Sorcier de St. Martin, Manmbo St. Martin Yan), c. 1984
      Romare Bearden
      St. Martin Obeah (Sorcier de St. Martin, Manmbo St. Martin Yan), c. 1984
    • Romare Bearden Obeah Man with Cigar, 1984
      Romare Bearden
      Obeah Man with Cigar, 1984
    • Romare Bearden The Green Man (From the Rituals of the Obeah Series), 1984
      Romare Bearden
      The Green Man (From the Rituals of the Obeah Series), 1984
  • 'One Obeah woman thought that she made the sun rise. Each night she held back the moon and conceived a...
     
    Romare Bearden
    Marriage of the Viper (From the Rituals of the Obeah Series)1984

    "One Obeah woman thought that she made the sun rise. Each night she held back the moon and conceived a rooster which she hurled out into the sky, and it became the sun, . . . the darker side of things . . . is what the Obeah are mostly about. The Obeah go back to the Ashanti. This is magic, not religion, although it is not voodoo. Sometimes the magic and religion interweave, but as I see it, it is more about magic . . . I was very interested in the fact that the Obeah and their roots could be traced back to Africa."

    –Romare Bearden

    • Norman Lewis Untitled, 1976
      Norman Lewis
      Untitled, 1976
    • Norman Lewis Untitled, 1970
      Norman Lewis
      Untitled, 1970
  • "I, too, struggled single-mindedly to express social conflict through my painting. However gradually I came to realize that certain things are true: the development of one's aesthetic abilities suffers by such an emphasis; the content of truly creative work must be inherently aesthetic or the work becomes merely another form of illustration; therefore the goal of the artist must be aesthetic development, and, in a universal sense, to make in his own way some contribution to culture."

    –Norman Lewis

    • Romare Bearden Untitled (a double-sided work), c. 1945-1948
      Romare Bearden
      Untitled (a double-sided work), c. 1945-1948
    • Romare Bearden Guitar Executive, 1979
      Romare Bearden
      Guitar Executive, 1979
  • “I paint on collage. I consider them paintings, not collage. I use collage, pieces of paper that I’ve painted on...
    Romare Bearden
    Cattle of the Sun God, 1977

    “I paint on collage. I consider them paintings, not collage. I use collage, pieces of paper that I’ve painted on myself."

    –Romare Bearden

  • If you are interested in speaking with us directly about the available works, or would like to learn more about the artists, please do not hesitate to connect with Alana Ricca by phone call, to the gallery at (212) 879-8815, or by mobile at (203) 524-2694. We look forward to being in touch with you soon.