The Art of Romare Bearden

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[image] Berkeley-the City and its People, 1973

Romare Bearden, Berkeley––The City and Its People, 1973
collage of various papers with paint, ink, and graphite on seven fiberboard panels
City of Berkeley, California, Public Art Collection
© Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

This mural, one of Bearden's earliest commissions, was installed in the Berkeley City Council Chambers in 1974. Composed on seven fiberboard panels joined together, it is Bearden's largest known collage. Its subject is unusual in that it is not rooted in Bearden's long-term personal experience, but rather is based on Bearden's travel throughout Berkeley for a period of several days, during which he gathered material. Architectural details, political rallies, worship services, sailing vessels, and figures of importance to Berkeley's history are documented. The image of four overlapping heads in the lower right quadrant, representing the community's diversity, has become Berkeley's city logo.

Copyright © National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.