13 Facts About Will Barnet


Will Barnet was an American artist known for his paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints depicting the human figure and animals, both in casual scenes of daily life and in transcendent dreamlike worlds.


In 1930, Will Barnet studied at the Art Students League of New York, with Stuart Davis and Charles Locke, beginning his long association with the school.


Will Barnet influenced a generation of artists, including James Rosenquist, Knox Martin, Emil Milan, Paul Jenkins, Ethel Fisher and Cy Twombly.


Will Barnet continued his love of teaching with positions at the Cooper Union, at Yale University, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.


Will Barnet was represented by the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in New York City.


Will Barnet had three sons, Peter, Richard, and Todd Will Barnet, by his first wife Mary Sinclair.


Will Barnet's work is concerned with humanity, yet at his core he always remained a formalist, cerebral in his approach to the elements that make up a good picture.


Will Barnet was a key figure in the 1940s New York movement called Indian Space Painting, artists who based their abstract and semi-abstract work on Native American art; a striking movement which had a handful of practitioners.


Will Barnet is probably best known for these enigmatic portraits of family, made from the 1970s onwards, notably the Silent Seasons series, which contrasts his earlier works edginess and brooding contemplation that becomes more remarkable when compared with the more placid and pretty works which followed his second marriage.


Will Barnet's works have entered virtually every major public collection in the United States, including, the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Will Barnet has been the subject of over eighty solo exhibitions held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design Museum, the National Museum of American Art, Montclair Art Museum, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Worcester Art Museum, among others.


Will Barnet was the recipient of numerous awards, including the first Artist's Lifetime Achievement Award Medal given on the occasion of the National Academy of Design's 175th anniversary, the College Art Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art's Lippincott Prize, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters' Childe Hassam Prize.


Will Barnet was an elected member of the National Academy of Design, the Century Association, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.