Collage on masonite, with color inks and pencil, 1977. 153x230 mm; 6x9 inches. Signed in ink, upper left.
Provenance: the artist, New York; estate of the artist, New York; E. T. and Auldlyn Williams, New York.
Exhibited: ACA Galleries, New York, with the label on the frame back.
Back Porch Serenade is an excellent example of Romare Bearden's series of collage recollections of the South from late 1977 through 1978. Myron Schwartzman describes how Bearden, after finishing the Odysseus Collages series that year, began another odyssey of his own based on an idea that Calvin Tomkins used in his 1977 New Yorker profile of Bearden, Putting Something Over Something Else. Bearden set out to create his own visual odyssey "by way of the cities and neighborhoods that had been his ports-of-call: Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Harlem, Paris and Canal Street." In this collage, Bearden revisits a well-traveled subject and composition. As early as 1942, Bearden had painted Folk Musicians as a trio of men. Bearden had made the subject iconic in his important Three Folk Musicians, 1967, Three Men, circa 1966-67, Soul Three, 1968 and in later works such as Three Obeahs, 1984. Schwartzman pp 263-264.