Romare Bearden developed his unique approach to collage during the 1960s when, from 1963 to 1966, he was a member of Spiral. This association of like-minded African American artists based in New York wanted to work together to support the Civil Rights movement while preserving their individual artistic identities. Bearden, up to then known primarily as a painter, suggested that they undertake a communal collage of clippings from such magazines as Ebony, Life, and Look. Ultimately, Bearden worked on the project alone; intrigued by the potential of collage, he made it his primary medium. The lively ensemble in Stamping Ground presents a glimpse of authentic life in a black neighborhood. The street belongs to everyone: whether man or woman, young or old. Bearden’s photomontage is set on flat planes of color distressed by his use of an abrasion tool to give the surface depth and texture. A master collagist, Bearden caught the richness of contemporary African American life.
From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist Romare Bearden
American, 1911 - 1988
Title
  • Stamping Ground
Date 1971
Medium paper collage with graphite on board
Dimensions Unframed: 10 1/2 × 12 3/4 inches (26.7 × 32.4 cm)
Framed: 8 3/4 × 11 inches (22.2 × 27.9 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. George Kamperman Fund, Catherine Kresge Dewey Acquisition Fund, and Friends of African and African-American Art
Accession Number 2005.23
Department African American Art
Not On View
Signed Signed, upper right: rom | are | bear | den
ca. 1974, purchased by photographer Anthony Barboza;
1983, purchased by Peg Alston (dealer, New York, New York, USA);
2005-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA).
Sojka, Nancy. Bulletin of the DIA 86, no. 1/4 (2012): 39.