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Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:50

Romare Bearden Exhibition Opens in NY Thanks to a Longtime Friend of the Artist

Romare Bearden in his studio. Romare Bearden in his studio. Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Romare Bearden: The Paper Truth opens October 24 at the 92nd Street Y’s Milton J. Weill Art Gallery in Tribeca. Featuring 44 works on paper by Romare Bearden who is best known for his expressive depictions of African-American life, the exhibition includes watercolors, collages, and mixed media pieces.

The Paper Truth wouldn’t be possible without Russell Goings, a longtime friend of Bearden. The two met in the late 1960s when Goings was the chairman of the Studio Museum in Harlem and Bearden was a member of the institution’s board. The two struck up a friendship that resulted in Goings’ impressive collection of hundreds of Bearden’s works, some that he bought from Bearden and some he received as gifts from the artist.

The exhibition includes a self-portrait that Bearden made just days before his death in 1988 at age 75. Drawn on a page from a book of Jewish mysticism, the works has never been shown publicly. Two series, The Odyssey and The Historical Figures are also part of exhibition. Bearden made several versions of The Odyssey but the 22-piece series being shown has not been displayed in its entirety in New York in over thirty years. The Historical Figures series, a small collection of portraits of people of all races who helped to shape African-American history, has never been exhibited in New York.

The exhibition, which is on loan from the collection of Russell Goings and Evelyn Boulware (Goings’ longtime companion), will be on view through December 9.

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