Romare Bearden, 1911-1988, was a premier African American artist and writer of the 20th century. After his death, the Romare Bearden Foundation was started in his honor. Almost 125 paintings, collages and works on paper are on view in the art of Romare Bearden. His career as an artist grew as a result of life experiences and not through learning.
In Romare Bearden’s artwork of ‘The Family 1941’, it shows a middle class nuclear family. The family is neither poor nor rich. This is because the three characters in the picture are donned on nice clothes. The woman is holding a child on her chest. The child is probably suckling milk from her mother’s breasts which are already hanging out because one of the mother’s nipples is has a whitish fluid around it. The child seems to be looking at the man’s hand. The woman’s face looks downtrodden. The man is seated on a chair and leaning on the table. He seems tired or drunk. He is dressed in a suit meaning that he is working.
The way he is holding his hands with fingers opened and spread shows that he is dismissing his wife after a probable quarrel. On the table, there is a lamp, a fork, a cup that is facing down and a slice of dried up bread. The lighted lamp shows that it’s during the night. The fork, the slice of bread and the cup on the table shows that there is no food for supper in the house. The man must have come back home from work drunk, tired and empty handed and is silencing the wife who is probably asking him for food to eat. The wife’s gloomy face shows that she is angry because of the man’s irresponsibility. The child is wearing white clothes meaning that his/her life is okay as the child may not understand the problems at home because there is milk to suck.