Will Barnet, a visionary American painter and printmaker, died on November 13, 2012 at his home in Manhattan. Born in 1911 in Beverly, Massachusetts, Barnet’s passion for art began at a young age. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Art Students League of New York under the direction of Stuart Davis. In 1936, he joined the faculty of the Art Students League and went on to teach at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Cooper Union, and Yale University.
Barnet’s work explores the abstract qualities of ordinary, banal subjects, transforming them into richly stylized and dynamic compositions. In particular, his use of flat, unmodulated colors in depictions of everyday scenes reveals the influence of Stuart Davis’ collage-like paintings and foreshadows the American Pop imagery of Tom Wesselmann.
Examples of Barnet’s prolific body of work are housed in a number of prestigious collections, including the National Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art. He has also received various awards such as the Artist’s Lifetime Achievement Award Medal by the National Academy of Design.