In 1977, Romare Bearden created a series of collages and watercolors based on Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Rich in symbolism and allegorical content, Bearden’s Odyssey series created an artistic bridge between classical mythology and African American culture. These 50 works represent the first full-scale presentation of Bearden’s Odyssey in decades, along with Bearden’s watercolor variations of the collages, line drawings, and additional compositions with classical themes. This exhibition invites visitors to explore the artist’s most pervasive and important theme—the heroic traveler’s search for a way home.
Image: Romare Bearden (1912–1988), Cattle of the Sun God, 1977, collage, © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Courtesy Ann and Sheldon Vogel
Programming & Financial Support
Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in cooperation with the Romare Bearden Foundation and Estate and DC Moore Gallery. The exhibition and its related educational resources are supported by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Art © Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York.
Generous local support for this exhibition has been provided by the Chazen Museum of Art Council, Dane Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.