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Bearden Murals, Rescued From XL Center, Delivered to Hartford Public Library

Two valuable Romare Bearden murals were delivered Friday to the Hartford Public Library after being salvaged from the nearby XL Center, which is undergoing a renovation.

Credit creative commons
Romare Bearden, in his army uniform, a photograph taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1944

Bearden is considered one of the most famous African American artists of the 20th century. He developed a distinct style of cut-and-paste collage, drawing inspiration from his childhood in North Carolina, the Harlem Renaissance, and the ongoing civil rights movement.

His Hartford murals, recently appraised at $4.2 million, were commissioned for the former Hartford Civic Center, but were not incorporated into the current XL Center renovation. Meant to be public art, the large canvases can be seen for free at the Hartford Public Library.  

Romare Bearden died of bone cancer in 1988. In 2011, WNPR's Catie Talarski produced an intimate portrait of the final years of the artist's life, and the two men who helped him create until the very end.

Listen to the portrait below:

The delivery of the murals to the library was captured Friday morning on social media, and in a timelapse video provided by the library. See below:

Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.

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