Romare Bearden was an American artist and writer who depicted African-American life. He worked with many types of media including cartoons, oils and collages. Bearden grew as an artist not by learning how to create new techniques and mediums, but by his life experiences. His early paintings were often of scenes in the American South, and his style was strongly influenced by the Mexican muralists, especially Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. Shortly thereafter he began the first of his stints as a case worker for the New York Department of Social Services. During World War II, Bearden joined the United States Army, serving from 1942 until 1945. He would return to Europe in 1950 to study philosophy at the Sorbonne under the auspices of the GI Bill.
September 2, 1911 – March 12, 1988