In “Wrapping it Up at the Lafayette,” renowned African-American collage artist Romare Bearden re-created the lively heyday of Harlem’s legendary Lafayette Theater. Bearden (1911 – 1988) lived close to the Harlem theater, which was renowned in the 1920s and 1930s for plays and musical revues. Using magazine pictures, paper and fabric, he created several scenes from the audience’s perspective. Inspired in part by his love of jazz, Bearden expertly created collages that portrayed the character of African-American culture.
Exceptional African-American collage artist Romare Bearden (1911 – 1988) strove to cross all cultural boundaries in unique works influenced by Cubism. Bearden was profoundly influenced by Harlem’s flourishing jazz scene, and his jubilant works reflect the music’s improvisational style. Expressing themes of ritual, music and family in his artwork, Bearden was also a gifted writer, songwriter, book illustrator, theater designer and humanitarian. Creating an astonishing 2,000 works in his lifetime, Bearden is considered one of the most prominent African-American artists of 20th century.