Romare Bearden is best known for the influential collages he produced beginning in 1964 until his death in 1988. That body of work has been widely published in books, discussed by school-children in curriculum across the country, and featured in monographic and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. To date, however, very little attention has been paid to the body of work that immediately preceded those well-known works—extraordinary and fully abstract watercolors, mixed media collages, and stain paintings, sometimes as small as under three inches high or as large as over six feet tall. Romare Bearden: Abstraction will correct this omission by providing the first substantive and scholarly examination of this important body of work. The scholarship produced through this project will contribute to the development of alternate storylines around the dominant narrative of post-war abstraction while at the same time revealing, for the first time, the roots of the body of work for which Bearden is best known.
Romare Bearden: Abstraction is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, and curated by Neuberger Director, Tracy Fitzpatrick. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by Morgan Stanley, the Triennial Adeline Herder Fund for Collage, Ronni Rubin Bolger, ArtsWestchester, with support from the Westchester County Government, the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art, and the Purchase College Foundation.