John L. Severance Fund 1994.84
© Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Growing up during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, artist Romare Bearden devoted his career to recasting, in his words, "the image of man in terms of the Negro experience I know best." His imaginative collages, which he often translated into printed media as here, employed a fragmented style inspired by the rhythms of jazz. He transformed often mundane scenes of African American life into images with spiritual and cultural resonances. Here, a woman bathing in the background of Open Door evokes baptism, a ritual of spiritual purification and cleansing and a reminder of the importance of religion in African American culture.
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