Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Spring Way

1964 Romare Bearden Born: Charlotte, North Carolina 1911 Died: New York, New York 1988 collage on paperboard sheet and image: 6 5/8 x 9 3/8 in. (16.8 x 23.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design 1999.9 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In July 1963, a month before Martin Luther King’s historic march on Washington, D.C., Bearden and eleven other artists formed a group called Spiral to discuss how they could contribute to the civil rights movement. The moment was cathartic for Bearden, and he began making collages based on memories of black life in Pittsburgh, the rural South, and Harlem. He needed, he said, “to redefine the image of man in terms of the Negro experience.” The bleak and unforgiving sense of place in Spring Way, which was named for an alley near the Pittsburgh boardinghouse owned by Bearden’s grandmother, reflects the strong social conscience that inflected Bearden’s work anew in the 1960s. 

Modern Masters: Midcentury Abstraction from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
, 2008


Architecture Exterior - domestic - house

Cityscape - Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh

Cityscape - street - alley

Cityscape - street - Spring Way

Modern art movement - collage


paper - newsprint