Will Barnet

Will Barnet
Study for Big Duluth
Gouache on paper.
8 x 5 inches (203 x 127 mm)
Gift of Will and Elena Barnet, 2009.
© Will Barnet / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Will Barnet's career has spanned nearly eight decades during which he successively embraced different styles, abstract and figurative. The five drawings recently donated to the Morgan by the artist provide a survey of his evolution. The three earliest works, from the 1940s and 50s reflect Barnet's involvement with the so-called Indian Space Painters, a group of artists who set out to create a specifically American abstract style by looking for inspiration in Native American art. Fond of using found paper as a support, Barnet created one of these pictographic compositions over and around the lettering of a 1956 charity ball program for the fundraising arm of a Black civil rights organization.
Study for Big Duluth is one of many studies for a monumental painting Barnett made following a summer residency at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. The stark, semi-abstract landscape was inspired by the view of sun, moon and stars reflected across the surface of Lake Superior.

Will and Elena Barnet.
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