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Here is a warm and intimate visual biography of artist Romare Bearden (1911–1988). The photographs in this book were culled from Frank Stewart’s thousands of images taken from 1975 until the artist’s death. Stewart worked closely with Bearden, photographing him working in his studio, attending exhibitions and events, and relaxing with family and friends. These pictures reveal a warm and generous man, and offer insight into the genius evident in his art.
Among the preeminent artists of his generation, Romare Bearden represented the places where he lived and worked: the rural South, the northern cities of Pittsburgh and New York, and the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Religious subjects, music, and history and literature are overlapping themes in Bearden’s work. The artist is best known for his collages and photomontages, but he also worked in watercolors, gouaches, and oils. In 1987 he received the National Medal of the Arts.
This book is organized into eight sections: Canal Street, Long Island City, The World of Art, Lectures and Teachings, Friends, Staten Island, St. Martin, and Canal Street, Again. Ruth Fine’s introduction discusses the symbiotic relationship of the artist and photographer, and her interview with Stewart serves as a running commentary accompanying the images.