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17-B Romare Bearden, The Dove, 1964
Tatiana Kozbina


Theme: Landscape, Freedom and Equality

Subject areas: Visual Arts; U.S. History ; cityscape, collages

Skills covered:
Analyzing primary sources
Observation and description
Internet research skills

General Goal:
1. Introduce collages as a modern art form.
2. Gain some insight into Afro-American life and art.

.Specific objectives:
At the end of the lesson students will be able to:

  • Discuss the art of collage.
  • Describe the collage The Dove.
  • Appreciate the artist Romare Bearden
  • Understand how Bearden creates his collages.

Materials/ Visual Aids:
Picturing America Educators Resource Book
Artwork The Dove, 1964 Romare Bearden
Time: 45 min

Step-by-step procedures:

Lead-In: whole class activity (10 min)

The teacher can show several Romare Beardens collages. Break class into small groups. Have them discuss:
a) What their impression of collage is. (at first it might look like a jumble, but if you take time and study it, there is rhythm and unity in the picture.
b) What materials are used for collage? (collection of photos, magazine and newspaper clippings, colored paper, fabric, other.

  • What features/possibilities do you find interesting?Ask students if they know about the artistic medium, collage?
  • What is a cityscape? Why is collage a good medium to capture city life?


  • Introduce The Dove. (whole class activity) (7 min)
  • Look at the drawing. Compare it with the collage. Whats the difference in the feel or impression? Similarities Differences (The teacher can chart on the board)

http://www.sfmoma.org/multimedia/interactive_features/23# Romare Bearden, The Street (Composition for Richard Wright), 1977

  • Think about the palette(colors) used:

Brick buildings
A lot of grey
Black people
What objects are white? Why do you think?

  • Why is this collage called The Dove? What might dove symbolize?

What do the two cats represent?

  • The Artist: Romare Bearden :whole class activity ( 15 min)
  • Prepare 10 questions you would ask Bearden if they could interview him.
  • What did Bearden feel the role of African American Artists was/is?

Watch clip of Bearden working on his collage Block.
http://www.sfmoma.org/multimedia/interactive_features/23# ( Bearden at work)

  • Teacher- led activity.What role did jazz play in Beardens art? (3 min) (Beardens work is strongly influenced by the musical forms of jazz and the blues. The rhythms and tones of jazz are reflected in the way he arranges shapes and patterns and applies color to his collages. The fact that jazz is often made up of improvisation combined with a general underlying plan parallels Beardens working technique. He said, "Even though you go through these terrible experiences, you come out feeling good. Thats what the blues say, and thats what I believelife will prevail." (http://www.sfmoma.org/multimedia/interactive_features/23#), Romare Bearden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City)
  • Teacher presentation on Harlem Renaissance (8 min)

1.How was Black Popular Culture transformed by this historical movement?
2.What influence did it on Bearden who was a child at that time?

Closure: (2 min)

Ask students about three things they learned, two questions they have, and one thing they liked.


1.Have students make reports on 3 figures from the Harlem Renaissance and 2 figures from the Civil Rights Movement.
2.Have students choose from Beardens The Block(1971) and Patchwork Quilt(1970).

Romare Bearden: The Block (1978.61.1-6) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
| The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Patchwork Quilt(1970). www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php Present and discuss collages:

  • Describe it
  • Describe how it was created
  • Describe why you like it.

Have students create a collage about a Russian city- not using tourist landmarks.
3. How does the eye travel through the picture. Deliberate the composition. Draw the diagram starting from the white cat. What shape can be formed?


1. Have students create a collage about a Russian city- not using tourist landmarks.
2. Have students find more materials about modern collages and other artists in this field.
3. Reading with vocabulary and questions.

Collages of Romere Bearden

Source: www. nga.gov/education/classroom/bearden/methc1.htm and www.lessonwriter.com


1.enhance-(v) - To improve, increase, or intensify /, , , , .
2. evolve-(v) - Commonly: to change./.

3. luminosity-(n) - The state of giving or radiating light/ ,
4. underlie-(v) - To be the basic support for something/ .
5. assemblage-(n) - A gathering of people or things/ .
6. distinguish-(v) - Tell the difference between two things/ , .
7. undergo-(v) - To go through a process , .
8. balance-(v) - To stay in position without falling/ ,.
9. range-(n) - A series of things between limits/.

2 Reading

Collage: Bearden's Signature Style www. nga.gov/education/classroom/bearden/methc1.htm

Like the content of Bearden's artBearden described the scene as "my last view of daylight as I entered the subway on my way home from N.Y.U."

3 Comprehension Questions

1. Why do Bearden's works "merit long periods of observation"?
__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________

2. What artistic mediums did Bearden work in?
___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

3. What happened to Bearden's art in 1963-64? Why?
___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

4.Where did he find inspiration in European old masters?
___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

5.What occurred in 1951 and 1961 which probably awakened Bearden to using collage in his art?
___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

6. What is he trying to achieve in working on the canvas?
___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

7. How does Bearden say he begins his collages?
___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

8. Which old masters had the greatest influence on him?
___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

9. What kinds of materials does Bearden use for his collages?
____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

10. In his later collages, Bearden added more of what to them?
____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

4 Vocabulary

1. The house must _______________________ a lot of work before we can sell it.
2. It can be hard to _______________________ a real diamond from a man-made diamond.
3. The price _______________________ is from ten to one hundred dollars.
4. It is hard to _______________________ the first time you ride a bicycle.
5. Every New Year's Eve there is a huge _______________________ of people at Times Square.
6. They started with a simple idea but it _______________________ and became very complex.
7. Spices _______________________ the taste of food.
8. Love for his family _______________________ everything he does.
9. The light's _______________________ is no where near as bright as that of the sun.


List of References for students:

Romare Bearden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art( The Block)
The Art of Romare Bearden Childrens Guide (pdf)
Romare Bearden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
NewsHour Extra: A NewsHour with Jim Lehrer special for students
Romare Bearden: Piecing Together a Viewpoint

for teachers:

on Harlem Renaissance

The Romare Bearden Foundation

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Collection Database

The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,
www.charlie rose.com/view/interview/1615 (about the artist)

The Dove (Glossary)
Unobtrusively (adv) not noticeable or blatant; inconspicuous /
Vibrant (adj) vigorous and animated/
Inhabitant (n) a person who inhabits a particular place /
Glimpse (n) glance: a quick look /
Segregation (n) a social system that provides separate facilities for minority groups /
Syncopations (n) music (especially dance music) that has a syncopated rhythm /