Cover image for Romare Bearden : collage of memories
Romare Bearden : collage of memories
Greenberg, Jan, 1942-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harry N. Abrams, 2003.
Physical Description:
52 pages : color illustrations ; 31 cm
Recounts the life of the twentieth-century African-American collage artist who used his southern childhood, New York City, jazz, and Paris to influence his bold and meaningful art.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.4 1.0 74046.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6537.B4 G74 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Black History

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This volume recounts the life of the 20th-century African-American collage artist who used his Southern childhood, New York City, jazz and Paris to influence his bold and meaningful art.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-9. Romare Bearden filled his collages with images of everyday life as he lived it, and this beautiful, large-size volume with exquisite reproductions of his art is both a biography and an exciting accessible introduction to his amazing work. Greenberg, who coauthored Runaway Girl BKL Ap 15 03 for older readers, and the Printz Honor Book Heart to Heart (2001), shows how Bearden drew on his childhood memories of growing up in North Carolina as well as on his exciting adult years in Harlem to compose pictures that celebrate African American life and his feelings about his people. She talks about technique with clear poetry that takes the viewer up close to the pictures on the page (Painted paper scissored into shapes. Scraps of fabric. Hands cut from a photograph. Bits and pieces pasted on a board ), and she relates Bearden's life story by making his images emotional representations of his feelings. Without being obtrusive, the documentation is exemplary, with notes at the back for direct quotes as well as a detailed chronology, a bibliography, a glossary, and a list of places to view his work. With each picture, there are details about technique, date, size, and location. This is the very best kind of artistic biography. Adults will want to see it, too. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

From the first spread, Greenberg (without frequent collaborator Sandra Jordan) draws readers into a dynamic portrait of African-American painter and collage artist Romare Bearden. "Painted paper scissored into shapes. Scraps of fabric. Hands cut from a photograph," the book begins; in a kind of textual collage, blocks of words appear on bold patches of solid color that echo the checkered floor in the artist's Early Carolina Morning, 1978, featured on the spread. The often poetic narrative reinforces the inviting artwork: "Step inside Bearden's world, where jazz, rhythm, and blues meet a kaleidoscope of shimmering, shimmying colors." Greenberg discusses the importance of Bearden's North Carolina childhood to his later work (emphasized by compositions such as Dinner Before the Revival Meeting, 1978), and intersperses photographs that demonstrate how young Romie's light skin posed challenges in a segregated South. A brilliantly designed spread for The Street, 1964, shows off the myriad tones between black and white in an homage to his beloved Harlem. Bearden's mother, a renowned Harlem newspaper editor and activist, introduced him to the likes of Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington, and his brush with Harlem Renaissance royalty shows up in paintings such as Show Time, 1974. Some of the gems come off as almost parenthetical: a childhood friend who influenced his artistic approach (eulogized in Farewell Eugene, 1978) and a brief flirtation with abstract expressionism (e.g., Mountains of the Moon, 1956). This intelligent volume provides a way into the artwork for youngest readers (and includes enough engrossing details to keep their interest) and new and interesting nuggets for more experienced art lovers and fans of African-American history and culture. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Greenberg's exploration of Bearden's art is filled with large, full-color reproductions, primarily of his mature works. The illustrations occasionally fill an entire page, and give readers an excellent overview of Bearden's style and subject matter. Some photographs of the artist are included as well. Using the collages and lithographs to reveal biographical snippets and memories results in disjointed and choppy text, both in sentence structure and in subject matter. The author hops around from one point to another with little warning or set up. Her admiration for her subject comes across clearly: "When we look at his paintings, we feel we could be right there with him running through a cotton field in North Carolina or sitting on the front stoop of a tenement in Harlem." The time line includes some new research, most notably that Bearden graduated from New York University with a degree in education, when previous accounts cited his degree as in mathematics. However, the date of his marriage to Nanette Rohan is given as 1951, when it was actually 1954. The pagination is also problematic, citing the wrong pages for quotes within the book. Also, there is nothing within the text of the book to indicate that a further explanation of a quote or definition of a term is located in the notes or glossary. Still, for its illustrations alone, schools or libraries with a high interest in art may wish to purchase this book.-Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.