Romare Bearden is among the greatest artists of his generation.
His complex and powerful works represent the places where he lived and worked: the rural North Carolina, the urban area of the northern cities, primarily Pittsburgh and New York’s Harlem, and the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Religious subjects and ritual practices, jazz clubs, and literature are dominant themes in his work. ;Romare Bearden was born September 2, 1912. Bearden’s date of birth has been the subject of much debate.
Dates have ranged anywhere from 1911 to 1914. However, according to the Register of Deeds in Charlotte, his year of birth has been recorded as 1912." Born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Bearden moved as a child to New York City with his parents. Although Bearden left Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, as a small child, he returned often through the mid-1920s to visit his paternal great-grandparents who were property owners in Charlotte. He also traveled to Pittsburgh where he attended his last two years of high school, living from 1927 through 1929 with his maternal grandparents who ran a boardinghouse for steel mill workers from the south. These two cities as well as New York offered Bearden countless motifs that were the basis for much of his art throughout his career. "The Bearden home in New York became a meeting place for Harlem Renaissance personalities including writer Langston Hughes, painter Aaron Douglas, and musician Duke Ellington, all of whom certainly would inspire the young artist’s imagination.
; During a career lasting almost half a century Bearden was best known for his revolutionary use of collage. He would produce approximately two thousand works. Bearden graduated in 1935 with a degree in education at New York University. In 1936, Bearden enrolled in night classes at New York’s Art Students League where he studied under German Expressionist George Grosz. Grosz reinforced Bearden’s interest in art.