Books and Sketchbooks Reveal A Painter's Mind: Selections from the Library of Romare Bearden" at National Gallery of Art, Companion Exhibition to The Art of Romare Bearden, September 14, 2003 - January 4, 2004
Washington, DC—A Painter's Mind: Selections from the Library of Romare Bearden, a small companion exhibition to the major retrospective The Art of Romare Bearden, on view at the National Gallery of Art, September 14, 2003 - January 4, 2004, provides an intimate perspective on the artist's interests and influences, social and intellectual networks, and--with holes cut into some pages--the actual material of his collages.
Exhibition curator Ruth Fine and National Gallery of Art executive librarian Neal Turtell selected the 36 objects in A Painter's Mind from the thousands of books and journals in the artist's library, which remains intact at the Romare Bearden Foundation in New York.
The exhibition is divided into 5 sections: Works by and about Bearden; Sketchbooks and Journals; Bearden the Composer; Influences on Bearden's Work; and Books Inscribed to Bearden. Highlights include:
Inscriptions from friends such as writer Albert Murray ("To my good old image making buddy Romy/ some sketch pad notes for an all-American panorama"), as well as from Ralph Ellison (in his classic Invisible Man) and artist/teacher George Grosz;
Sketchbooks revealing diverse influences--from a detailed schematic analysis of a work by Giotto to a strong line drawing of a jazz ensemble;
Original sheet music for "Sea Breeze" (the Bearden song is included on Branford Marsalis' new CD);
A rare catalogue from an exhibition of work by the 1960s Civil Rights era Spiral group of African-American artists;
Illustrations for children's books and a volume of Derek Walcott's poems.
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(Retired) Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC