Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Romare Bearden, fully Romate Howard Bearden

American Artist, Collagist and Writer

"Art is the soul of the people."

"Artists have this desire for a vision of the world... There's some painting someplace that's not in a museum and it's your idea as a painter to put that one thing that is missing there."

"Black art has always existed. It just hasn't been looked for in the right places."

"But no one, when you stop to think, has ever equated abstract expressionism as a movement with jazz music. It's based on improvisation. The rhythms, the personal involvement, all of this is part of the jazz experience."

"Every artist wants his work to be permanent. But what is? The Aswan Dam covered some of the greatest art in the world. Venice is sinking. Great books and pictures were lost in the Florence floods. In the meantime we still enjoy butterflies."

"I want to see how life can triumph."

"Painting and art cannot be taught. You can save time if someone tells you to put blue and yellow together to make green, but the essence of painting is a self-disciplined activity that you have to learn by yourself."

"Painting is a self-disciplined activity that you have to learn by yourself."

"Painting is the act of discovery and you're constantly enlarging your horizon or finding yourself every time you paint."

"Practically all great artists accept the influence of others. But . . . the artist with vision sees his material, chooses, changes, and by integrating what he has learned with his own experiences, finally molds something distinctly personnel."

"The artist has to be exactly the opposite [of people singing the song, I've gotta be Me,] and transcend himself as he makes judgments."

"The artist has to be something like a whale swimming with his mouth wide open, absorbing everything until he has what he really needs."

"The most difficult object in painting is yourself because you're always at issue."

"There are roads out of the secret place within us which we must all move as we go to touch others."

"We look too much to museums. The sun coming up in the morning is enough."

"Well, it [artistic method] is like jazz; you do this and then you improvise."

"What you don't need is just as important as what you do need. "

"If you're any kind of artist, you make a miraculous journey, and you come back and make some statements in shapes and colors of where you were."

"The artist confronts chaos. The whole thing of art is, how do you organize chaos?"

"The function of the artist is to organize the facets of life according to his imagination."

"You put down one color and it calls for an answer. You have to look at it like a melody."