Will Barnet receives Medal from President Obama!

Will Barnet The Blue Robe, 1962, Oil on canvas
Private Collection, New York
Will Barnet, American Painter, Printmaker, Teacher and good friend received the 2011 National Medal of Arts Award from President Obama on February 13, 2012 in a White House Ceremony in the East Room; the First Lady was also in attendance.

The event was open to the press and the entire White House ceremony was live streamed. Watch Will Barnet receive the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama here:

After the 2011 National Medal of Arts Citation for Will Barnet was read, President Barack Obama placed the 2011 Medal around Mr. Barnet's neck. Elena Barnet, Will Barnet's wife, accompanied the Artist to The White House Ceremony, followed by a reception with the President and First Lady.

President Barack Obama congratulates Will Barnet
after receiving a National Medal of Arts Award
in the  East Room  at The White House on 2/13/12
2011 National Medal of Arts Citation for Will Barnet
"Will Barnet for his contributions as an American painter, printmaker, and teacher.  His nuanced and graceful depictions of family and personal scenes, for which he is best known, are meticulously constructed of flat planes that reveal a lifelong exploration of abstraction, expressionism, and geometry.  For over 80 years, Mr. Barnet has been a constant force in the visual arts world, marrying sophistication and emotion with beauty and form."

Works by Will Barnet are in most major Museums in the United States including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The National Gallery of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Will Barnet at 100 was recently held at the  National Academy Museum, the Artist's first New York retrospective.
Will Barnet Henry Pearson, 1967 Oil on Canvas
Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
In addition to an extraordinary eight decades of creating Art, Will Barnet has taught numerous Artists including Cy Twombly, Tom Wesselmann, Eva Hesse, James Rosenquist, Mark Rothko and Donald Judd.

In a recent interview in the New York Times, Mr. Barnet said “In my way of teaching I used to eliminate perspective and light and shade and tell the students to just work flat.”  “But the flatness can have a lot of space and a lot of excitement and tension in how forms coincide and relate to each other.” Some American Indian tribes “understood that well,” he added, hence the name of the movement he became part of.

"All these paintings you might say are figures that have been taken apart and put into an abstract relationship,” Mr. Barnet said of canvases like Male and Female, 1954, in the Collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 
Will Barnet Male & Female, 1954 Oil on Canvas
Collection The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Acclaimed for his Figurative Art, Will Barnet recently has been lauded for his body of Abstract Art he had stopped doing since the 60's In 2003, the Artist started reworking a 1962 canvas of a containing a blue spiral form on black background. 

Will Barnet Enclosure 1962-2003 Oil on Canvas

For about a year, the Artist, reworked the colors to give the right feeling of luminosity to the greenish coil against the brilliant blue background. Titled Enclosure, 1962-2003, the painting suggests the gestation of something new; the painting was included in the Artist's Retrospective at the National Academy Museum. 

View The New York Times Slideshow of Will Barnet Art here.

Joseph K. Levene Fine Art, Ltd.

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