In my novel in progress, Provenance, visual art and artists in Paris between the World Wars are key characters. Then, as now, in the shadow of conflict and tragedy, art in Paris thrived. Case in point: Monique Wells, who blogs from Paris on Entrée to Black Paris shared her recent envy-worthy experience at the opening of a fascinating exhibition, Romare Bearden’s Paris Odyssey. This rich exhibition, at the Columbia Global Center in Paris, features Bearden’s work based on The Odyssey as well as several Bearden paintings based on jazz in the City of Lights. Paris Odyssey also highlight works by Henri Matisse, including Matisse’s landmark book, Jazz (1947). The artist is thought to be a central influence on Bearden’s art.
This may not be the ideal time to travel to Paris but to experience this exhibition, you will certainly wish you were there.
From the press release: Romare Bearden’s Paris Odyssey is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in cooperation with the Romare Bearden Foundation and Estate and the DC Moore Gallery. The show was conceived and curated by Robert O’Meally, Columbia’s Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English, and is sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Bearden (1911–1988) was long a Harlem fixture, working for several years in a studio above the famed Apollo Theater, just a few blocks northeast of (the Columbia University) campus.
1977 Collage of various papers with foil, paint, and graphite on fiberboard
Image courtesy of Professor Robert O’Meally