Will Barnet (1911-2012)
Will Barnet (1911-2012)

Edge of the World

Will Barnet (1911-2012)
Edge of the World
signed and dated '© Will Barnet '80' (lower right)--signed again and dated 'Begun 1973 Completed in 1980 - Jan' (on the tacking edge)--signed again and dated '1973/© Completed 1980' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
58 x 58 in. (147.3 x 147.3 cm.)
Painted in 1973-80.
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York.
H. O'Beil, "Will Barnet," Arts Magazine, vol. 55, no. 9, May 1981, p. 15.
R. Doty, Will Barnet, New York, 1984, p. 130, illustrated.
P. Crowther, ed., "The Contemporary Sublime, Sensibilities of Transcendence and Shock," Arts & Design, vol. 10, 1995, pp. 19, 30, illustrated.
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., Will Barnet: New Paintings, February 7-28, 1981, no. 10, illustrated.
New York, Kennedy Galleries, Inc., Summits: Outstanding American Paintings, 1763-1985, November 6-December 7, 1985, no. 22, illustrated.

Lot Essay

In the 1985 Kennedy Galleries, Inc. exhibition catalogue for Summits: Outstanding American Paintings, 1763-1985, the inspiration for the present work is described: "Will Barnet summers in Chamberlain, Maine in a house poised on the edge of a high bluff overlooking the Atlantic. No island blocks the stretch of water in its sweep to Spain; the view gives him, he says, the feeling of being on the edge of the world--the theme of the present picture.

"The concept took shape gradually. At first the painting was of landscape and sea alone; the trees, the house and the figure came later to give the work a human dimension. None was part of the actual setting. The trees are the straight-trunked pines of the interior, the house was observed in Portland, the figure is anonymous. In another change a sunset sky, which seemed too blatant, was subdued to the light of late evening, more in harmony with the New England mood the artist sought.

"The marked stylization, as in all Barnet's work, is the result of his continuing search for clarity and structure--and for essences unimpeded by detail. In the last respect he belongs to the Precisionist movement in American art, perhaps the most fruitful and certainly the most persistent of all this country's adaptations of Cubism." (n.p.)

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