2 September: Fred Romare Harry
Bearden, born in Charlotte, North
Carolina to Bessye Johnson Bearden
and (Richard) Howard Bearden.
Family moves to
New York City.
Fall: Enrolls at Public School (P.S.) 5,
141st Street and Edgecombe
Avenue, Harlem, New York.
Bearden family settles
permanently in Harlem.
grade in Pittsburgh;
lives with maternal
elected to New York City
School Board No. 15.
Completes P.S. 139 and
enters De Witt Clinton High
School, 116th Street Annex, NY.
Summer: Eugene Bailey,
a young Pittsburgh neighbor,
gives RB drawing lessons.
Grandparents move to East
Liberty, Pittsburgh; RB lives
with them and attends
Peabody High School.
Graduates from Peabody
High School. Enters Lincoln
University, Oxford, Pennsylvania.
Transfers from Lincoln University
to Boston University for two years; takes
many art courses and becomes star
pitcher on varsity baseball team.
Meets Elmer Simms Campbell,
first black cartoonist for such
publications as Saturday
Evening Post, Esquire,
and New Yorker.
Transfers from Boston University
to New York University (NYU).
Does cartoon illustrations for
NYU publication, The Medley.
Produces political cartoons for The
Crisis, activist journal sponsored
by the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People.
24 February: Cartoon
published in Colliers, signed
Howard Bearden, Jr.
September 1935 - May 1937: Publishes
weekly cartoons in The Afro-American
June: Graduates from
NYU with Bachelor of
Science in Education.
12 February - 12 March:
New York, Exhibition of Sculpture
and Paintings Presented by the
Art Committee of the
First Solo Exhibition
4 - 11 May: 306 West 141st Street, Romare
Bearden: Oils, Gouaches, Watercolors, Drawings
(1937 - 1940). Seven oils, six gouaches, five
watercolors, six drawings. Catalogue.
Moves studio to 243 West 125th Street, Apollo Theater building.
Group Exhibition 16 October - 7 November: McMillen, Inc., New York,
Negro Art: Contemporary: The Visitation (1941), Woman Picking Cotton.
Other artists include Eldzier Cortor, Joseph Delaney, William H. Johnson,
Lewis; selection from art critic Frank Crowninshield's African sculpture
collection on display in adjoining gallery. Catalogue.
April: Enlists as private in army. Assigned to First
Headquarters, Fifteenth Regiment, all-black 372d
Infantry Division. Regiment transferred from Fort Dix,
New Jersey, to Harlem to guard New York City
subways against sabotage.
16 September: Bessye Bearden dies suddenly from pneumonia.
Group Exhibition 3 - 31 January 1943: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts,
Time-Life-Fortune Exhibit: Manpower (also known as Factory
Workers; 1942, gouache) previously published as frontispiece for
"The Negro's War" in June 1942 issue of Fortune.
Solo Exhibition 13 February - 3 March:
G Place Gallery, Washington, D.C., Ten Hierographic Paintings
by Sgt. Romare Bearden. All gouaches. Catalogue.
Summer: Through Crosby RB meets Samuel M. Kootz whose newly
established gallery represents William Baziotes, [George] Byron
Browne, Alexander Calder, Adolph Gottlieb, Carl Holty, Fernand Leger,
Robert Motherwell. Bearden joins gallery stable, which holds monthly
meetings to discuss art and aesthetics.
November: Publishes "The Negro Artist's Dilemma" in Critique:
A Review of Contemporary Art; criticizes Harmon Foundation for
fostering mediocre African-American art.
Solo Exhibition 24 February - 5 March: Kootz Gallery,
New Paintings by Bearden. Eighteen drawings and watercolors
inspired by Francois Rabelais' sixteenth-century literary
work, Gargantua and Pantagruel. Catalogue.
Fall: RB begins long correspondence about art with Carl Holty,
University of Georgia, Athens. Leads to joint authorship of
The Painter's Mind: A Study of the Relations of Structure
and Space in Painting (1969).
February - August:
Takes leave from Department of Social Services,
travels to Paris under GI Bill of Rights, studies philosophy
with Gaston Bachelard at Sorbonne and French at
Institut Britannique; also studies Buddhism.
RB and Dave Ellis found Bluebird
Goup Exhibitions 17 March - 16 May: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Sculpture, Watercolors, Drawings,
second half of Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings: Walls of Troy
(1946 - 47, watercolor). Other artists include Calder, Naum Gabo, Lawrence, Ad Reinhardt. Catalogue.
2 November - 2 December: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Lewisohn Collection: Untitled -- Golgotha
(1945, watercolor). Other artists include Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Matisse, and Picasso. Catalogue.
Returns to work at
New York City Department
of Social Services.
4 September: Marries Nanette Rohan whom
RB met at New York benefit for hurricane victims in
West Indies. They live with RB's father in apartment
on Morningside Drive.
Philosopher Hannah Arendt and
husband, Heinrich Blücher, urge RB
to focus more on painting and
less on music.
22 March: Becomes member of
American Society of Composers,
Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
Moves with Nanette to loft at 357
Canal Street, Manhattan, where he
lives for the rest of his life.
Gallery owners Arne Ekstrom
and Michel Warren visit RB's
studio, express interest
in showing new work.
Cedric Dover's American Negro Art,
published by New York Graphic Society,
includes RB's Untitled (He Is Arisen).
Daniel Cordier & Michel Warren, Inc.,
later renamed Cordier & Ekstrom Inc.,
represents RB until his death.
July: RB invites artists to meet at his Canal Street studio to discuss political events
related to civil rights and plight of blacks in America. Named "Spiral," the group seeks
to answer question "What is black art?" Group rents space on Christopher Street and
begins to meet weekly, plan exhibitions, and make arrangements for attending march
on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr., in August.
RB appointed first art director of newly established Harlem Cultural
Council, a prominent African-American advocacy group with several
Solo Exhibition 1 - 31 October: Corcoran Gallery
of Art, Washington, D.C., Projections. Five
collages, twenty-two photostats. Catalogue.
Group Exhibition 11 September - 16 October: University
California, Los Angeles, Dickson Art Center, The Negro
in American Art: Prevalence of Ritual: The Annunciation,
Six Panels on a Southern Theme.
Active in founding of Studio Museum
in Harlem, New York.
One of fifty founding members of the Black Academy of
Arts and Letters, designed to "define, preserve, promote
and develop the arts and letters of black people."
Retires from Department of Social Services to work full-time in studio.
March: "Rectangular Structure in My Montage Paintings" published in Leonardo,
journal published by International Society for Arts, Sciences, and Technology.
Solo Exhibition 25 March - 7 June: Museum of Modern Art, New York,
Romare Bearden: The Prevalence of Ritual. Retrospective of
fifty-six works travels to National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington,
D.C. and several national venues. Catalogue.
Elected sixth president, board of directors, Harlem Cultural
Council. Six Black Masters of American Art by RB and Harry
Henderson, published by Zenith Books, examines the work of
Duncanson, Johnston, Lawrence, Pippin, Savage, and Tanner.
January: Appointed to three-year term on American Academy of Arts and
Letters/National Institute of Arts and Letters Awards for Art committee.
Awarded honorary doctorate in fine arts, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
November: The Art of Romare Bearden: The Prevalence of Ritual by
M. Bunch Washington, published by Harry N. Abrams.
Designs cover for Harvard Advocate, vol. 107, no. 4,
special issue, Black Odyssey: A Search for Home. Designs
Spring Festival, tapestry published by Modern Master
Tapestries, Inc., New York.
Consultant to Schomburg Center for Research in Black
Culture, New York Public Library; focuses on acquisition
of artworks. Produces Recollection Pond with Pace
Editions/Gloria Ross Tapestries, New York.
Awarded Gold Medal for achievement in the
arts by the governor of North Carolina.
18 April: The Street (Composition for Richard Wright) published in New York Times.
May: Gives commencement speech and receives honorary doctorate in fine arts from
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. Receives honorary doctorate from North
Carolina Central University, Durham.
13 October: Presentation of Carol Jenkins' interview,
"Profile of Romare Bearden," on "Positively Black,"
WNBC-TV, channel 4.
Approximately thirty New York cityscapes in
watercolor executed for opening credits of John
Cassavetes' film Gloria.
22 October: Proclaimed Romare Bearden Day,
5 January: Attends reception at White House in celebration of the print
publication Presidential Portfolio. Includes RB's Pepper Jelly Lady (1980).
13 November: RB's etching Sunday Morning at Avila commissioned to
commemorate eighty-fifth birthday of composer Virgil Thomson for
Carnegie Hall performance of Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts.
Communications, RB's mural for
Howard University, Washington, D.C., unveiled.
Solo Exhibition 14 February - 28 March: Birmingham Museum
of Art, Alabama, Romare Bearden: Jazz. Features work from
1978 to 1981. Travels nationally. Catalouge.
Solo Exhibition 11 - 26 March: Sheldon Ross Gallery,
Birmingham, Michigan, New York At Night: Recent Watercolors.
24 May: National Academy of Design, screening of film, Bearden Plays
Bearden by Billie Allen and Nelson Breen, followed by RB lecture about
influence of jazz on his work.
Group Exhibition 27 January - 30 June: Studio Museum in Harlem, New York,
Tradition and Conflict: Images of a Turbulent Decade, 1963 - 1973. Among the
fifty-five artists included are Malcolm Bailey, Catlett, Dana Chandler, Chase-Riboud,
Gilliam, Lawrence, Parks, Pindell, Ringgold, Saunders. Catalogue.
Solo Exhibition 16 September - 16 November: Detroit Institute of Arts,
Michigan, Romare Bearden: Origins and Progressions, retrospective
exhibition of fifty-seven works travels to Bronx Museum of the Arts,
New York. Catalogue.
12 March: Romare Bearden dies.
6 April: Memorial service at Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Derek Walcott, Ralph Ellison, and Mary Schmidt Campbell, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City, speak at service. An exhibition of works by RB is installed at the cathedral.
May: Nanette accepts for her husband posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from Studio Museum in Harlem.
Illustrates A Visit to the Country, children's book by
Herschel Johnson, published by Harper and Row in 1989.
11 May - 10 June: ACA Gallery, New York, Romare Bearden (1911 - 1988): A Memorial Exhibition. Catalogue.
14 April - 11 August: Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, Memory and Metaphor: The Art of
Romare Bearden. Retrospective exhibition of 141 works. Travels until 1993 to national venues
including: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Wight Gallery, University of California,
Los Angeles; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; National
Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Catalogue.
Pantheon Books, New York, publishes A History of African-American
Artists: From 1792
to the Present, cowritten by RB and Harry Henderson who together dedicated many years
to researching and writing this comprehensive survey of African-American art.
Mural, City of Glass, based on 1982 maquette, installed at East Tremont Avenue and
Williamsburg Road (elevated) Station, Bronx, Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York.
14 September - 4 January 2004: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,
The Art of Romare Bearden. One hundred and forty works. Exhibition
travels to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Dallas Museum of Art;
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; High Museum of Art,
September 2004 - March 2005:
Romare Bearden Homecoming Celebration, New York. A citywide celebration honoring Bearden with special events, art, music, dance, educational and family programs. Over 20 cultural and educational institutions in all the boroughs offer exciting programs as a tribute and a joyous welcome home to NYC for the artist.