Romare Bearden: At The Heart Of Hammonds House Museum's Collection

Bearden is onsidered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century.

Cattle of the Sun God (1979) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Romare Bearden’s artwork includes poetic memories from his childhood, powerful and thought-provoking statements about African American culture, and reinterpretations of biblical stories from an African American perspective.

Born in North Carolina in 1911, Bearden spent much of his career in New York City. Virtually self-taught, his work encompassed many mediums including watercolor, oil, and photo collage. He is most well-known for his semi-abstract collages which he constructed from magazine clippings, paper scraps, and swatches of fabric daubed with paint. Many of the creative assemblages included cut up photographic images of eyes, masks, and plant material, pieced together to make human shapes.

King Solomon's Judgement (1978) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

This artwork is based on the biblical story in which King Solomon ruled between two women who claimed to be the mother of a child. He found the truth when he suggested cutting the baby in two, and the real mother shielded the child.

Siren's Song (1977) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

From Bearden's Odysseus Suite, this scene depicts Odysseus after having his crew tie him to the mast of his ship and plug their ears as they approach the island Anthemoessa, which is inhabited by singing sirens.

Goodbye to Nausicaa (1979) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Another scene from Bearden's Odysseus Suite, six figures stand before the Princess Nausicaa who is departing. The outdoor scene depicts a ship on blue water, distant castles, and verdant land.

The Fall of Troy (1979) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

This scene from Odyssey Suite is not technically from the epic poem, but from the mythology of the Trojan war and Odysseus as designer of the Trojan horse. This stylized scene of the Fall of Troy shows a serene Trojan horse gazing out over the death, flames and carnage of the fallen city.

Sea Nymph (1977) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Circe Turns a Companion of Odysseus into a Swine (1979) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

From Bearden's Odysseus Suite, this scene shows the sorceress Circe confronting Odyssesus and turning his companion into swine.

Maudell Sleet (1978) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Bearden created several artworks, including this watercolor, in memory of Maudell Sleet, a neighbor where he grew up in Mecklenberg County, North Carolina. Maudell was known for her incredible garden and Bearden said of her planting beds, he could still smell the flowers and taste the blackberries.

Girl in the Garden (1979) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Bearden is playing with scale and perspective in the vibrant Girl In The Garden which features a Black woman standing in a lush garden of deep pinks, oranges and greens.

Quilting Time (1981) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

This scene is an homage to African American quilters. They made quilts for the families they served and for their own households. These quilts were utilitarian and often quite beautiful.

Urban Street Scene (1979) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Island Girl In Purple Shade (1978) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Bearden added a new dimension to his art in the 1970s by painting lush watercolors on tropical themes inspired by visits to the Caribbean island of St. Martin, the ancestral home of his wife, Nanette.

Girl Beneath Wisteria (1978) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

NY Exhibit Poster (1981) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Brown vs. Board of Education (1984) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

This poster commemorates the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs Board of Education Board of Topeka, Kansas in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. This poster is signed from Bearden to O. T. Hammonds, former owner of Hammonds House.

Roots (1977) by Romare BeardenHammonds House Museum

Dr. Otis T. Hammonds, former owner of Hammonds House, was an avid arts patron and collector. Romare Bearden was of his favorite and he added many of the artist's works to his burgeoning collection. Hammonds invited Bearden to Atlanta many times, and introduced him to collectors and artists. *This serigraph has a signature to O.T.

Credits: Story

Hammonds House Museum is generously supported by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Fulton County Arts & Culture, and the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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