Romare Bearden Foundation

foundation programs

Preservation of Bearden Archives gets big boost

from The Henry Luce Foundation - May 2013


Thanks to a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation (NY) the collection of materials left by Romare Bearden is finally on it's way to becoming widely available to Bearden scholars, museum professionals and enthusiasts!

Below: Archivist, Camille Brewer, performs work on the 15 linear feet of archival material including correspondence, photographs, audio recordings, drawings, notebooks, exhibition catalogs, awards and other ephemera pertaining to Bearden’s life, work and career. 















The Project Objectives are to process the collection to assess the full scope and contents of the property, and to finally make the archival collection accessible to researchers, students and others. The ultimate goal is to process the information electronically to provide the ability to migrate the data easily into other cultural institution databases and/or websites.



Bearden left an extensive library of books, personal papers and records dating mainly from the 1960s to 1980s that illuminate his extraordinary creativity and intellectual/scholarly interests. This collection adds substantively to the scholarship on twentieth-century American art, containing varied printed materials, recordings of interviews, sketchbooks and Bearden’s own personal library of over 2,500 books and journals. Currently, the collection is available only for limited use by scholars and only by appointment. Once it is digitally catalogued, it will become an accessible resource for scholars, artists, art and cultural historians.



In partnership with commercial publishers, the Foundation plans to print and distribute seminal publications generated from its symposium series as well as catalogues to accompany touring exhibitions. The Publications Program includes a Catalogue Raisonné, an essential resource about the artist for scholars, collectors and students.


Romare Bearden in the Modernist Tradition

This publication documents the proceedings of the 2007 Chicago Romare Bearden in the Modernist Tradition symposium. The 133-page publication includes scholarly essays based on the papers presented at the symposium, transcripts of interviews, over 40 color and black & white Bearden works as well as other reproductions to illustrate the book.


From Process to Print: Graphics Works by Romare Bearden

To be published 2009 by Pomegranate, the exhibition catalogue will accompany the exhibition From Process to Print: Graphics Works by Romare Bearden, which features an in-depth examination of Bearden’s graphic works. The catalogue will present essays by art historians and interviews with the master printmakers and publishers with whom Bearden worked and feature various color and black & white reproductions of selected works from the exhibition.



Publications in Process:

The Romare Bearden Catalogue Raisonné: Collages, Paintings & Works on Paper

While Bearden is most recognized as one of America’s premier collagists, he also worked in paintings, watercolors, monotypes and drawings on paper.  To chronicle this body of work is a considerable undertaking requiring time and the efforts of many dedicated individuals and collectors alike.  We need your help in gathering information on these very special, unique works.   The Romare Bearden Foundation is currently soliciting photos of unique works (collages, paintings, watercolors, drawings, monotypes) from individuals, museums and corporations to be included in this publication.  To be considered for inclusion, please mail a photo or email an image with title, year, medium, size and provenance information to  We thank you for being part of the documentation process for one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century.

The Romare Bearden Catalogue Raisonné:  The Complete Prints 1945-1988

Currently being written by Jerald Melberg Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina.   Bearden's graphic works (a finite list including etchings, screenprints, lithographs, collagraphs and the early photomontages) are being sequenced, numbered and accurately compiled.  This volume will include a thorough approach to Bearden's accomplishments in printmaking with additional scholarly commentary as well as auxiliary information pertinent to many of the individual prints. 

Jerald Melberg, Director of Jerald Melberg Gallery, was the first curator to present a comprehensive look at Bearden's work in Bearden's hometown of Charlotte, at the Mint Museum in 1980. Since opening his gallery in 1984, he has continued to be a stalwart supporter of Bearden’s legacy mounting several feature exhibitions, collaborating with museums on exhibitions and speaking and lecturing nationwide on the artist’s work.  Janet Wall, Chief Researcher on the Bearden Print raisonné project at Jerald Melberg Gallery, has worked closely with the Romare Bearden Foundation, printers, publishers, curators, dealers, library archives and museums in an effort to compile the complete story of Bearden as a printmaker.  Inquiries on prints can be made to   Publication date TBA.



Oral History Project 

The Oral History Project will provide extensive information about Bearden’s life, art and artistic process. A collection of recorded interviews with Bearden’s friends, fellow artists, collaborators, supporters and collectors will contextually assemble details about his life, art and artistic process. Because Bearden’s interests were multidisciplinary, interviewees with whom he intersected and collaborated are drawn from literary, dance, music and the performing arts worlds. This project enables the Foundation’s continued expansion of Romare Bearden Archives, with primary source material seminal to the field.