Painting: Touching at the Core

"An artist," says Romare Bearden, "is an art lover who finds that in all the art he sees, something is missing. To touch at the core of what he feels is missing, to put there what needs to be there, becomes the center of his life's work."

For Bearden, a heavyset, light-skinned Negro, what was missing was an adequate portrayal of the worlds he had grown up in and knew best—the farm life of the sharecropper in the South, where he was born, the tense, raucous life of his boyhood in Harlem, where his...

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