Oil on canvas
45 x 38 in.
signed u.r. in oil: Will Barnet [Barnet is handwritten]
dedicated, dated, and signed u.l. to u.r., handwritten on stretcher in ink: This Painting is a gift to my wife Elena Barnet 1953 Will Barnet
c. typed on label: TIBOR DE NAGY / Exhibitied [sic] in the exhibition: / "Will Barnet: The Abstract Work" / October 15- November 14, 1998 / 724 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019 212.262.5050 fax 212.262.1841 / Established 1950
c.r. typed on label: TIBOR DE NAGY / Will Barnet / SELF-PORTRAIT, 1948-49 / oil on canvas / 45 x 38 inches / 724 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019 212.262.5050 212.262.1841 / Established 1950
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
© Will Barnet Trust / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
In the 1940s Barnet found creative inspiration in objects from Indigenous material cultures, which he studied during regular visits to museums, including the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and while perusing the Smithsonian Institution’s Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology publication. Barnet valued Indigenous motifs as an essential resource for creating what he called “a real, a true American painting” distinct from European forms of abstraction.
Self-Portrait reworks motifs and patterns from Hopi pottery and Northwest Coast art, combining them into a flattened, semi-abstract rendition of Barnet’s head and upper body. In the center-left of the composition, a pipe extends from the artist’s mouth and nose, which are represented by an upside-down question mark. Paired with the red and tan square in the upper right—his hand scratching his forehead—the question mark suggests a process of creative inquiry and self-searching.
—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)
Will Barnet: Relationships, Intimate and Abstract, 1935-1965June 18, 2011–January 8, 2012
This celebratory exhibition marked Barnet’s 100th birthday by allowing viewers to witness the sophisticated progression of his art during the most pivotal period of his career, as he searched for the symbolic potential of forms through realism and abstraction.
From Remington to O’Keeffe: The Carter’s Greatest HitsOctober 6, 2018–March 22, 2019
During the renovation, this exhibition features highlights from the permanent collection, including paintings, photographs, and sculptures, by some of America’s most renowned artists.