The Easel

Interview with Mary Schmidt Campbell, author of An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden

It took Bearden ages to find his métier. Straight out of art school – and perhaps influenced by his mentor George Grosz – he painted figurative works. A post-war shift to abstraction was poorly received, insufficiently abstract for New York, insufficiently black for his own community.  A friend suggested photographing the collages that Bearden had made as a side project. They were an instant hit. America’s “foremost collagist” had arrived.