Romare Howard Bearden (American, 1911-1988)
Christ Taken by Soldiers
Signed "Bearden" u.l., titled and identified "...IST TAKEN BY SOLDIER.../...IL ON
GESSO / Romare Bearden / Painted 7/1945" on a label fragment affixed to the stretcher, inscribed "Frame for R. Bearden by J. Grippi..." in pencil on the frame.
Oil on Masonite, 18 x 23 7/8 in. (45.7 x 60.6 cm), framed.
Condition: Surface grime, craquelure, minor losses.
Exhibition: Romare Bearden: First New York exhibition, opening Monday Oct. 8 extending thru Oct. 27. Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, New York City, New York, 1945.
N.B. In 1945, Bearden was given a one-man show by Caresse Crosby at the G Place Gallery in Washington D.C. entitled "The Passion of Christ." The works in this show "marked the beginning of a new phase of Bearden's resolution of problems of composition, color, and theme in his art" and was "the first of four important series, all inspired by literary themes, which were to be exhibited in the midst of the down town New York art scene in the mid to late 1940s" (1)
On Crosby's introduction and encouragement, Samuel Kootz hosted a show of "The Passion of Christ" series a few months later, to great critical press. Nora Holt noted that "…[Mr. Bearden] feels his series, "The Passion of Christ" presents a symbol expressing the emotional events of that cycle-tragedy, love, hatred, fear, sadism, and sacrifice-shorn of literalism as a device, but conceived and designed in his own creativeness." (2)
(1) Schwartzman, Myron. Romare Bearden: His Life & Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990. Pg. 127.
(2) Ibid., pg. 135.
The losses are pin point and slightly larger in size and are scattered throughout the composition. Some of the edges of some of the largest (2mm) losses have lifting to the edges of the paint. The work would benefit from cleaning.