Richard Yarde's vision was about healing: physical, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual. From the portrayals of African American icons to explorations of his own illness, his work encompassed the wide range of the human experience: from isolation to perseverance, triumph, and pure joy.

Richard Yarde was born in Boston in 1939 and for much of his life lived in Northampton Massachusetts. Yarde received a B.F.A. cum laude and a M.F.A. from Boston University. Since the mid-1960s, he has been a major presence in the New England art world. Mr. Yarde has trained generations of young artists and was a Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 1990 until his death in 2011. His work enriched our sensibilities as he charted a unique watercolor style. Solo and group exhibitions throughout the country have featured his paintings, which reside permanently in nearly three dozen public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Yarde tackled the traditionally intimate art of watercolor with uncharacteristic bravado. Unlike oil or acrylic painting, watercolor brooks no mistakes. Yet Yarde painted on a heroic scale with dazzling color, rich symbols and deeply evocative imagery.

Critics have written—and Yarde concured—that his body of work was an exploration of his own history. Early on he painted with joy and verve. He would splash the Roxbury neighborhood where he grew up in the 1950s on large sheets of paper, then turn to rendering imagined scenes from the vibrant jazz world of the Harlem Renaissance.

Later, as his own illness became a dominant factor in his life, it also became one in his painting. Imagery of fragmentation (like the gridwork of his trademark style) led to themes of healing and integration. Boldly and on a grand scale, Richard Yarde took the disparate elements of our American culture, past and present and our intellectual heritage and showed that they are one and the same with our own personal journeys to integrate them into a cohesive whole. Richard’s artistic journey is the journey of our American consciousness.

Please contact the gallery for information about pricing or to see more pieces from the collection.

savoy-leon and willa mae
Leon and Willa Mae
41.5" x 29.5"

The Jitterbug
42" x 30"
The Minuet
It's Not The Minuet
20" x 13"
Yellow Apartment
28" x 37"

Savoy: The Leap
42" x 29"

Savoy: Leap
22" x 19"

The Strut
14" x 10"

Ann and Frankie
23" x 15"

Paul Robeson (The Emperor)
42" x 30"
Dinah Washington
20"x 14"
Jack Johnson
41.5"x 28"

Louis Armstrong
14" x 10"

Josephine Baker
14" x 10"

For Marion
17" x 11"
Madame-Walker22x30Madame Walker
22.5" x 30"
Blue Jacket
30" x 28"

Baffle Ball Triptych
42" x 92"

Savoy: For Rich and Jennifer
12" x 8"



Learn More

At the Danforth: Richard Yarde's Toe-Tapping Energy

Area artist Richard Yarde to be remembered in memorial service, exhibits − MassLIVE - The Republican


Commonwealth Award for Fine Art (2002)
Academy Award in Art from The American Academy of Arts and Letters (1995)


Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston



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