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Romare Bearden

Eastern Barn


about this work

Eastern Barn, composed of photographs, magazine cutouts, and pieces of painted and mottled paper, is likely based on a memory from Romare Bearden’s childhood in the South. Two men, perhaps on a break from work, converse in a barn as a female figure listens in. Bearden’s composition calls attention to its own disjunctive structure. While some details (such as the bird that the man on the left holds in hand or the basket of eggs by the woman’s side) create a three-dimensional effect, the figures are resolutely flat; the grey clothes of the man on the left seem to almost merge into the background. There are shifts in scale too—heads, feet, and hands are disproportionate to bodies, and the bodies in turn seem large compared to the interior space in which they are located. 

Romare Bearden, Eastern Barn, 1968  69.14
Romare Bearden, Eastern Barn, 1968. Collage of paper on board, 55 1/2 × 44 in. (141 × 111.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase  69.14 For Teachers
Art © Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY