Take a deep breath before diving into the color-drenched palette of multimedia artist Romare Bearden. In his 1988 obituary, the New York Times referred to the 75-year-old artist as the nation's "foremost collagist." This month, we're going gaga over ACA Galleries' exhibition of Bearden's later works, entitled "Urban Rhythms And Dreams Of Paradise," on view in New York until February 23.

romare bearden

Balancing the Southern aesthetic from his hometown of North Carolina with the momentum of the Harlem Renaissance, Bearden worked in a constantly fluctuating language all his own. His passionate collages took cues from Pablo Picasso's cubism, Diego Rivera's Mexican murals, Johannes Vermeer's Dutch classicism and the visceral memories of his own life. Somewhere between a jazz medley and a jigsaw puzzle, the artist's complex works tell a personal tale on an epic scale; never before has abstraction seemed so personal.

See the impassioned works in the slideshow below and let us know if you are inspired to pick up some scissors in the comments section.

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  • Romare Bearden Up at Minton's 1980 Watercolor and Collage on Board 39 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches

  • Romare Bearden Mother and Child ca.1976-77 Collage on canvas mounted on masonite 48 x 36 inches

  • Romare Bearden Storyville Piano Interlude Monotype 30 x 42 inches

  • Romare Bearden Untitled (double-sided) 1956 Gouache on Paper 25 x 19 inches

  • Romare Bearden Storyville Mirror 1987 watercolor and collage 31 1/2 x 40 inches

  • Romare Bearden Shepherdess 1946 Pencil, Watercolor and Ink on Paper 24 x 17 1/2 inches

  • Romare Bearden Rising Sun: L'Embouchure Watercolor 22 x 30 inches

  • Romare Bearden Profile/Part I, The Twenties: Mecklenberg County, Railroad Shack Sporting House ca. 1978 Collage, fabric, oil, ink and graphite on board 11 x 16 1/2 inches

  • Romare Bearden On Such a Night as This 1975 Collage on board 16 1/8 x 28 1/2 inches

  • Romare Bearden Mecklenburg Evening 1984 Collage & acrylic on board 30 x 40 inches

  • Romare Bearden Junction Piquette 1971 Fabric Collage 92 x 68 inches

  • Romare Bearden Cora's Morning 1986 Collage and watercolor 11 x 14 inches

  • Romare Bearden Christ Healing the Sick 1945 Oil on Gesso Panel 12 x 10 inches

  • Romare Bearden Blues for R.B. 1981 Monotype 43 1/4 x 41 1/2 inches

  • Romare Bearden Bluer Than Blue 1981 Oil and Collage on Paper 41 1/4 x 31 1/4 inches

  • Bearden, Romare All the Things You Are 1987 Watercolor and Collage 30 x 40 inches

  • Bearden, Romare A Land Beyond the River 1957 Collage 11 x 22 inches

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