Will Barnet

Will Barnet
Study for Reflection
ca. 1970
Pencil on paper.
16 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches (425 x 349 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.
During the 1960s, in a paradoxical move at a time when abstraction was becoming dominant in American art, Barnet returned to figuration, using his family as models. Study for Reflection and Study for Midnight (accession number 2009.387) are characteristic of Barnet's later style with their minimal shading and depth of field as well as their mood of quiet introspection.

Will and Elena Barnet.
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