richard price & sally price

University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006

Vents d'ailleurs, 2006

"The Sea Nymph"

"The Obeah's Dawn"

"Blue River Martinique"

Bearden in St. Martin (photo: Frank Stewart)

Romare Bearden: The Caribbean Dimension
by Sally Price & Richard Price
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006

Poster for Book Week, Martinique, 2007

Special offer: 54% off = $22.91 with free shipping from

The New York Times called Romare Bearden "the nation's foremost collagist," and a major retrospective of his work, organized by the National Gallery of Art, toured the USA several years ago. Bearden's portrayal of the African American experience in the United States – particularly scenes of Harlem and the rural South – are well known, but little has been published about his life in the French Caribbean, where he spent much of the final seventeen years of his life. In his home on the island of St. Martin, the roosters of North Carolina farmyards gave way to fighting cocks, and his palette took on the luminous colors of tropical sunsets and the coral sea. Diaphanous faces mark a state of deep trance in his Obeah paintings, and vibrant splashes of color fill his Carnival series. Poet Derek Walcott and writer Albert Murray are among those whose reminiscences help the Prices situate Bearden's place in art history and U.S. American consciousness.

This full-color book is lavishly illustrated with photos of Bearden in the Caribbean and over 100 color plates of Bearden's Caribbean art.

From Booklist
Romare Bearden's radiantly hued and jazzily structured collages and paintings celebrating the rural South and Harlem are well known. But so grand and complexly detailed is his oeuvre, one crucial facet has been given short shrift: his Caribbean works. The professors Price now redress that omission in this bright and lively volume. Bearden's wife was born on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, and the couple lived there for much of the 1970s and 1980s, until his death in 1988. Bearden, an exemplary colorist, discovered a "new brilliance" beneath the tropical sun and in the most luminous of mediums, watercolors. He also took a more fluid approach to collage. Three breathtaking series dominate: one depicting "enchanted places," another focusing on Obeah rituals, and the third capturing the catharsis of carnival. The Prices have emulated Bearden's gift for assemblage by juxtaposing their illuminating commentary with that of earlier critics, Bearden's own writings, and the observations of the literature-loving artist's writer friends, including Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Derek Walcott.
--Donna Seaman. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

"A delightful visual voyage!... With enough color to impress the most fervent fauvists, Romare Bearden features the pictorial flamboyance of Romare Bearden's impressive Caribbean oeuvre. A delightful visual voyage!"
----Art Times (five out of five stars)

"Simply stated, no serious academic library American art history collection can be considered complete or comprehensive without the inclusion of Romare Bearden: The Caribbean Dimension."
--Midwest Book Review

"The Carnival Begins"

Selected Books:

“Richard and Sally Price’s elegiac account of their time living among the Saamakas of Suriname in the 1960s is wholly engrossing, and of the very highest narrative quality. I can see, smell, and feel everything they describe. The Prices have never been fresher or more readable as literature.” --George E. Marcus
Boléro Tropical, a French-language reimagining of Enigma Variations, is now available from and
Winner of the 2012 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association in the field of Human Rights and the 2012 Senior Book Prize of the American Ethnological Society. "An extraordinary work, actively written and exceptionally thought-provoking, Rainforest Warriors will be a classic." --Donald Brenneis, UC Santa Cruz
"A delicious combination of art, anthropology, and politics"--Lucy R. Lippard. "A fascinating, entertaining, and troubling book"--Journal of Anthropological Research. "A complex story of passion, intrigue, and power"--Journal of Surrealism and the Americas. "A crackling good story"--Museum.
Winner of the 2008 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, the 2009 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship, and the 2009 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. . . . "An astonishing performance ... as lucid and cordial as the best contemporary fiction.”--George Lamming
A lavishly-illustrated art book
A French-language original, printed in full color.
"A tour-de-force ... a true marriage of anthropology and art history." --Fred Myers, New York University
"A witty, but scholarly, indictment of the whole primitive art business." --Newsweek
"A superb calaloo of a book ... that explores the underlying insanity of the colonial experience." --George Lamming
"A true gem... The promise of literary ethnography is fulfilled: to educate and, just as a lark, to entertain." --African Arts
"Sensitive and honest, First-Time is required reading for all who seek to learn something new through first-hand, long-term research with non-western intellectuals" --Ethnohistory
"A splendid effort to recover the past." --New York Review of Books
"A splendid anthology, skillfully edited and introduced." --Eugene D. Genovese
"An innovative analysis of the creativity of African-Americans under the extreme constraints of slavery." --Rebecca Scott
"Conceived with sophistication but presented with simplicity and clarity" --Choice
"A brilliantly crafted experiment in postmodern narration --J. Jorge Klor de Alva, president, University of Phoenix
As seas dry up, books speak out loud, and elephants assume human form, we are present at a whole sequence of world-shaping happenings such as the invention of sex, the discovery of drums,and the arrival of death among humans.
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