New exhibition at BMA features works by Richard Yarde

Amazing works of art are on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art, including an exhibition entitled Richard Yarde: Beyond the Savoy. Yarde was a virtuoso painter who often used watercolors to recreate historical photographs of prominent black leaders and entertainers.| LINK: More Black History Month reports “He truly is considered one of the greatest watercolor painters of the 20th century.” Oliver Shell, curator of the Baltimore Museum of Art, said of Yarde, a Boston-born painter and watercolor specialist who was born in 1939. “He loved exploring African-American history and working from photographs in Boston.” Being exposed to that photographic process would become an inspiration. “He often tends to keep things floating to the left,” Shell said. Some of his paintings show prominent black figures: Marcus Garvey, boxer great Jack Johnson, actor Paul Robeson and Ella Fitzgerald at the Savoy Ballroom, a jazz nightclub in Harlem.” Ella Fitzgerald at The Savoy led the Chick Webb band in the 30’s and 40’s and you can see the entire Egyptian themed bandstand and all the musicians. It’s really very beautiful,” Shell said. Shell said Yarde has a dual interest in historical figures and their politics, like his artwork depicting members of the Niagara Movement — a black civil rights movement founded in 1905 by activists led by WEB Du Bois, a group of black intellectuals to discuss civil rights, and they met on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls,” Snell said. Most of Yarde’s work was created without preliminary sketches. He improvised with pigment, much like jazz musicians, which were his frequent subjects. “He loved it was also to preserve the white. The white in this picture is the translucent watercolor that wasn’t pigmented. He had incredible control over his hand as he was doing things, he had to anticipate where the buttons were going to be and around them paint,” Snell said. Yarde died in 2011 at the age of 72 for six months at a time before she dismantled t and stored in the dark so the light doesn’t fade them. The exhibition has three galleries and will be open until April 24th.

Amazing works of art are on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art, including an exhibit entitled “Richard Yarde: Beyond Savoy.”

Yarde was a virtuoso painter who often used watercolors to recreate historical photographs of prominent black leaders and entertainers.

| SHORTCUT: More Black History Month reports

“He is truly considered one of the greatest watercolor painters of the 20th century.” Oliver Shell, curator of the Baltimore Museum of Art, said of Yarde, a Boston-born painter and watercolor specialist who was born in 1939. “He loved researching African American history and working from photographs in Boston.”

Exposure to this photographic process would become an inspiration.

“He often tilts things to the left. It’s based on the way he looks at photos, which are often in water baths, so when they’re in the darkroom they’re floating around,” Shell said.

Some of his paintings feature prominent black figures: Marcus Garvey, boxer great Jack Johnson, actor Paul Robeson and Ella Fitzgerald at The Savoy Ballroom, a Harlem jazz nightclub.

“Ella Fitzgerald at the Savoy led the Chick Webb band in the 30’s and 40’s and you can see the whole Egyptian style bandstand and all the musicians. It’s really beautiful,” Shell said.

Shell said Yarde has a dual interest in historical figures and their political clout at the time, like his artwork depicting members of the Niagara Movement — a black civil rights movement founded in 1905 by activists led by WEB Du Bois.

“WEB Dubois, the third figure in the middle, gathered this group of black intellectuals to discuss civil rights and they met on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls,” Snell said.

Most of Yarde’s works were created without preliminary drawings. He improvised with pigment, much like jazz musicians, which were his frequent subjects.

“He also loved preserving the white. The white in this image is the translucent watercolor that has not been pigmented. He had incredible hand control. When he was doing things, he had to anticipate where the buttons were going to be and paint around them,” Snell said.

Yarde died in 2011 at the age of 72. Preservation of his work is important, and 11 News learned that watercolors can only be displayed for six months at a time before being taken down and kept in the dark so the light doesn’t fade them.

The exhibition has three galleries and is open until April 24th.

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