Untitled, Study for mural


Romare Bearden (American, 1911–1988)




Watercolor, ink, and graphite on graph paper


7 15/16 x 34 1/2 inches


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Dobbs and Michelle Jordan in honor of Mrs. Millicent Dobbs Jordan

Accession #


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Known for his memorable abstract paintings and collages, Romare Bearden expressed on canvas the complexities and distinctiveness of being an African American in American society. Bearden often drew inspiration from his experience of city life and portrayed his subjects in vibrant, energetic colors in contrast to the city’s grit. This sketch for the now destroyed mural at Clark Atlanta University remains as one of the few existing visual documents of this lost project. Bearden’s first sketch for the mural, the drawing reveals the unfiltered energy and passion the artist invested in the commission. Bearden later gave this study to his friend, the activist and Spelman College professor Millicent Dobbs Jordan of Atlanta. The drawing corresponds to a collage in the collection of Atlanta University.

Image Copyright

© Romare Bearden Foundation/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY