Saturday, May 31, 2014

"The Music Makers" by Jane Bearman

I found this little gem at a flea market in New Jersey about a year ago. Matted, framed, signed and numbered, and in excellent condition - I paid only $20. It's an original woodcut #37 out of 50. I had never heard of the artist before and haven't been able to dig up anything about her except a New York Magazine classified ad mentioning work by a "Jane Bearman" at a gallery in NJ in 1972 (That gallery no longer exists.) There are also a few illustrated children's books from the 40's published by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in the late that might also be her, but I can't tell from the style of the books' covers. If anyone reading this has any information about this artist, I'd love to hear from you.

The stark contrast between solid black and white gives the notes some punch. Hands, faces, and instruments slip in and out of shadow as the child-band jams. I see the boy's hand strum his guitar. The girl's hair falls freely as she swings her head  from side to side following the rhythm of their song, her voice and that of her accordion blending into one. I feel the focused concentration of the boy who stands perfectly upright, his whole face in shadow as his fingers nimbly swagger around his clarinet. The violin player shrinks a bit in the background, but his voice and the gliding motion of his bow are just as distinct as the rest. The music rises like steam. This room is getting hot, but that won't stop the dancing.


  1. Hello Martha, I came across your post and I too am looking for information on this artist. I have a limited ed. (4/10) colorized woodcut by this artist titled "Burning Bush" It is very fnicely matted, framed etc and displays well. If I find out anything more about her I get back to you here. John

    1. John, thanks for commenting. Definitely let me know if you find anything. I'll update this post if I do. Take care.