NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman Remembers the Late Will Barnet

On Tuesday the American painter and printmaker Will Barnet died at age 101 in his home at New York’s National Arts Club, where he lived for the last three decades of his life. Eight months before his death, on February 13, Barnet was honored in a ceremony at the White House, where he was among the artists who received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama (pictured). In a statement released this morning, National Endowment for the Arts chairman Rocco Landesman remembered that event, and reflected on the beloved painter’s life and work.

“On behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, it is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of artist Will Barnet, recipient of a 2011 National Medal of Arts,” Landesman said in the statement. “A painter, printmaker, and teacher, Barnet is known for his meticulously constructed depictions of family and personal scenes.”

Landesman continued:

At the 2011 Medal of Arts ceremony, President Barack Obama said, ‘Widely celebrated for a lifelong exploration of abstraction, expressionism, and geometry that marry sophistication and emotion with beauty and form, Mr. Barnet has been a constant force in the visual arts world.’ We join the visual arts community and beyond in mourning his death while celebrating his life and his art.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo by Anthony Brown, Imijination Photography.)