Back on ‘The Block’: The Met Marks Romare Bearden’s Centennial

A six-panel series, “The Block,” 1971, is 18-feet-long.

NEW YORK—The Metropolitan Museum of Art is exhibiting Romare Bearden’s “The Block” in celebration of the centennial of the legendary artist’s birth. The series depicts Harlem, the uptown new York neighborhood that inspired much of his work. Bearden created the six canvases using abstract cut-paper collage, the form for which he is best known. “Romare Bearden (1911-1988) A Centennial Celebration,” also includes six sketch studies for “The Block” and will be view from Aug. 30, 2011 to Jan. 8, 2012.

All photos by Arts OBserver

“The Block” depicts Lenox Avenue between 132nd and 133rd streets.

Bearden first drew the Harlem block from the balcony of a friend’s high-rise apartment.

Detail of “The Block” (cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, graphite, ink marker, gouache, water color, and ink on masonite)

One of six studies for “The Block,” circa 1971 (ink marker and graphite on paper)

“The Block” was included in Bearden’s first major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1971.

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