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Blues from the Old Country

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Blues from the Old Country

Artist: Romare Howard Bearden (American, 1911 - 1988)
Date: 1974
Medium: Collage, acrylic, lacquer on board
Dimensions:
Overall: 45 x 51 in. (114.3 x 129.5 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Mr. E.T. Meredith, III, 1990.28
Accession number: 1990.28
Classification: painting
Copyright:ARS
In Collection(s)
Label TextAlthough he did not receive widespread public notice until the 1970s, Bearden’s unique artistic vision had begun to take shape nearly forty years earlier. Influenced by his contemporary Stuart Davis, Bearden created a visual analog to the fragmented, dense language of jazz. In the 1960s he began creating collages like this one, combining flat, vivid color with imagery appropriated from African-American culture. These works present his perception of everyday life in Harlem and rural North Carolina, as well as explore various aspects of 20th-century Modernism, particularly Cubism. The subject of Blues from the Old Country is music, a critical theme in Bearden’s art. The creative process of making collages is one of construction and deconstruction, much like jazz. Bearden would tear away sections of a work, then recover the surface with new images. Of this technique, Bearden has said “Well, it’s like jazz: you do this and then you improvise.”
SignedRomare Bearden (l,l)
entirely unexpected