Excerpt from text: + Joseph Pulitzer Jr. essay

Portraits were: an example: #12. Portrait, pencil, 1966-1967, Betty Parson Gallery, New York City. This was a frontal view, head only, no neck, no background, a clean spare view of his beloved wife Patricia. It is beautifully shaded and has a soft transition between areas of light to small,Portrait {wife Patricia Barker}, by Walter Barker, ,1966-67, pencil, Collection: Betty Parsons Gallery, NYCdark. The drawing is done as if there were a spot light shinning downward above her head. In some box portraits, Walter actually cut a hole in the box above the head so that actual light DID shine down onto the head, such as in the work of a portrait of his baby son Michael; which is listed as "#16 Untitled, painted" in the same catalogue.


Full size:
Artist: Walter Barker, a.k.a. Wally Barker
Title: Portrait,
{listed as "#12. Portrait"; in Catalogue -
____________ * ___________
Paperback Catalogue
Title: Walter Barker, 1958-1968
Author:Ernest Smith, {Director, Gallery of the Loretto-Hilton Center}
Author: Joseph Pulitzer Jr.
Author: Gilbert Carpenter
Medium: pencil,
Size: no dimensions given in Catalogue
Date: 1966-1967,
Collection: Betty Parson Gallery, New York City

Portrait {wife Patricia Barker}, by Walter Barker, ,1966-67, pencil, Collection: Betty Parsons Gallery, NYC


Joseph Pulitzer Jr. essay

on the art of Walter William Barker Jr.

from page 5 of the above listed Catalogue


"The art of Walter Barker is responsive to a broad range of artistic impulses and philosophical attitudes. But such attachments based on extended reflection avoid the hazards of eclecticism or derivative mannerism. On the contrary, the artist assimilates his sources, renewing them in a series of pictures and constructions which, despite widely disparate stylistic means, achieve a personal statement of unwavering authority.

After formal training as a painter with Max Beckmann and Philip Guston at the Washington University School of Fine Arts, Walter Barker commenced to enlarge his experience with travel and study in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. At different times he found inspiration in the Venetian school of painting, and the arts of ancient Greece, Persia, Egypt and painters Turner and Constable. In French art, Courbet, Corot and the Impressionists were held in profound respect. He felt deeply the "poetic tenderness" of Flemish painting.

After moving to New York, Barker found that the color field paintings of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko reshaped the style of his work. His absorption with illusion and complexity in baroque art and architecture led to experiments with paradox, ambiguities and trompe l'oeil which a generation earlier would have qualified for the Surrealist sweepstakes.

What are the constants in the multifarious art of Walter Barker? Technical assurance; craftsmanship; fastidious draughtsmanship; painterly handling ( or when desired its opposite - a cooly impersonal "industrial" finish); finesse rather than bravura in brush work; bold design; exclusion of intrusive detail; balanced formal structure; meditative calm ore associated with classic composure than romantic fervor.

The distinction of Barker's work derives from these constants. But above all, the vitality and significance of this art is supported by rigorous concentration and incorruptible purpose."

END of essay.

(transcribed by Carol Lorraine Sutton, formerly Carol Sutton-Martin, February 10, 2003)


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Walter Barker[1921- -], {portrait of wife}Untitled,#12, pencil Walter Barker[1921- -], {portrait of baby}Untitled,#16,

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