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Oral history interview with Will Barnet, 1968 January 15

Barnet, Will, 1911-2012

Painter, Printmaker


Collection Information

Size: 78 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 26 min.

Summary: An interview of Will Barnet conducted 1968 January 15, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Barnet speaks of his youth and early interest in art, studying at the Boston Museum School and the Art Students League of New York, where he later taught, artists who influenced him early in his career, moving to New York City, and building his reputation as a graphic artist. He comments on American politics in the 1930s and 1940s and their effect on art, changes in the art scene in the 1940s and the influence of the Surrealists, teaching at the Cooper Union School, dealers and galleries he has been affiliated with and his involvement with the American Abstract Artists group. He discusses the influence of pre-Columbian art on his work, his exhibitions, and his philosophies of teaching and painting.

Biographical/Historical Note

Will Barnet (1911-) is a painter and graphic artist in New York, New York.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Transcript: 35mm microfilm reel 3196 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Will Barnet, 1968 January 15. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.