Romare Bearden Foundation

foundation programs


The Foundation’s Exhibition Program tours thematically organized exhibits of Bearden’s works, reaching an appreciative national and international audience and generating new and seminal scholarship on his art and life, ensuring his place in the canon of American and world art.

A traveling show of Bearden’s prints, From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden has been organized by the Foundation as part of the exhibition program SEE Exhibitions.


Exhibitions in development include the following:

  • An interactive family exhibition based on Bearden’s children’s book Li’l Dan, the Drummer Boy, A Civil War Story
  • An international retrospective
  • An exhibition of his Caribbean inspired watercolors

CLICK HERE for current and future exhibitions.


Bearden Foundation Gallery Program:

Exhibitions of Bearden’s work are presented in our on-site gallery on a rotating schedule. They are accompanied by public programs that include gallery talks and lectures by scholars and artists.    Related interpretive programs are free and open to the public. Art historians and scholars, fine artists, gallerists, choreographers, musicians, writers, poets and film makers, among others, provide diverse perspectives on Bearden’s art as well as on visual art in general.

Using Bearden’s  art, life and legacy as a catalyst, the gallery program extends the exploration of themes in modern and contemporary art to include the role and significant contribution of American artists of African American heritage.

The gallery is open to the public from Monday-Thursday, 10 am—6 pm and Friday, 9 am—5 pm.

For current exhibition schedule and public programs, CLICK HERE.



From Process to Print: Graphics Works by Romare Bearden

An exciting, new traveling exhibition From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden offers Bearden enthusiasts the opportunity to view over 75 prints, plates and proofs created over a 30-year period. Beginning in 2010, the exhibition will tour throughout the United States with its accompanying Exhibition Catalogue, featuring color reproductions and insightful essays that discuss Bearden's creative printmaking process.






Li’l Dan, The Drummer Boy, An Interactive Family Exhibition

Romare Bearden wrote and illustrated Li’l Dan, the Drummer Boy, A Civil War Story over twenty years ago.  The story of Li’l Dan touches upon the complex issues of racism, discrimination, prejudice, slavery, freedom, displacement and war. The book’s text and illustrations were rediscovered in Bearden’s archives, and published posthumously in 2003 by Simon and Schuster.


A new exhibition based on Li’l Dan, the Drummer Boy, A Civil War Story is in development to introduce Romare Bearden and his artistic legacy to a new audience of adults and children by using reproductions of the book illustrations, selected original artwork created for the book and a variety of interactive tools. Visitors explore how Bearden combined his unique drawing style and collage making process to create an engaging story based on American history. The exhibition’s primary goals are to encourage children to explore their own resourcefulness, resiliency, and potential for helping others; to provide a catalyst for family discussion around these issues; and to reveal Romare Bearden’s creative process and the connections between his life and the story of Li’l Dan.


Intended for children ages 5-10 and their families, and school groups in grades K-6, the exhibition will tour children’s museums and education departments in museums throughout the country.


Romare Bearden: Internationalist (working title)

This retrospective exhibition of Bearden’s work, intended for international tour, will fill a gap in the historical art record, providing critical examination of the artist’s oeuvre while also exploring the global dimensions of his use of iconology and iconography. The exhibition’s extensive humanities content is integral to its themes, and distinguishes it from previous exhibitions that have focused exclusively on Bearden as a visual artist. With a comprehensive selection of Bearden’s art works and works from which he drew creative inspiration—including African, Asian, Medieval, American and European art— as well as the inclusion of literature, photography and ephemera from the Bearden Archives, the Romare Bearden: Internationalist exhibition will further document his creative and intellectual interests and reveal his associations with other artists, writers, musicians and other significant historical figures as well as the role they played in his work.


Caribbean Revelry

Bearden began his visits to the Caribbean after marrying Nanette Rohan in 1954, whose family roots are found in St. Martin. In the early 1970s, Bearden and Rohan established a second residence on the island and during his time there, Bearden painted a series of watercolors based on Caribbean themes. In the earlier works, which consisted primarily of landscapes, Bearden used the properties of watercolor to describe the island’s lush colors and light-filled atmosphere.

In later paintings, Bearden added figures to the landscape, particularly in his “Obeah Woman” series, named for the traditional folk healers of the Caribbean who use the local flora and fauna in their work. This is a continuation the “Conjure Woman” series from the southern United States. The palette of verdant blues and greens influenced his work upon his return to New York. It consists of approximately 50 works, including original works, prints and related ephemera (letters, photographs and sketches). Working with a traveling exhibition firm, the Foundation is planning a tour of small public venues throughout the Caribbean and selected venues in the United States to begin in the winter of 2010 and continue through 2013.