Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson has written a stunning introduction to Harry N. Abrams' lovely new book on the collagist Romare Bearden.

Wilson was inspired by Bearden in creating his plays "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" and "The Piano Lesson."When he first saw Bearden's art, Wilson said, "It was the art of a large and generous spirit that defined not only the character of black American life, but also its conscience." Wilson received the Pulitzer for "Fences" and "The Piano Lesson." He also is winner of Broadway's coveted Tony.

"Romare Bearden: His Life and Art," by Myron Schwartzman, chronicles the artist's life. from his birth in Charlotte, N.C., through his childhood during Prohibition to the Harlem Renaissance to his death in 1988.

The handsome book contains 230 illustrations of Bearden's paintings, collages, drawings and sketches, and sells for $60.