Father-Son Alumni Exhibition Opens October 17 at UArts
'Generation to Generation' to feature work by renowned Philadelphia / Santa Fe artist Isa Barnett '43 and his artist son Ivan Barnett '69; sale of Isa's works to benefit student scholarships
October 9, 2012
A unique exhibition in tribute to the late Philadelphia/Santa Fe artist, illustrator, and University of the Arts alumnus and faculty member Isa Barnett DIPL '43 (Illustration) will be on display from October 17 to November 26, 2012, in the President's suite in Hamilton Hall at UArts. The exhibition, "Generation to Generation," is presented by his artist son and fellow UArts alumnus Ivan Barnett BFA '69 (Illustration). Examples of Ivan's own work will also be on display. An opening reception will be held on October 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Hamilton Hall during UArts' Family and Alumni Weekend.
"Generation to Generation" features a wide range of works by Isa Barnett – including paintings, drawings, historical illustrations and photography – as well as contemporary mixed media by Ivan. Archival photos and writings gathered by Ivan help to tell their intimate father-son story. All works in the exhibition are on loan from private collections. To tell Isa's story, the exhibition is divided into discrete sections: A Passion for History, Making a Living, The West, Teaching Us to See and Family Life. Ivan’s work is presented in its own section: Ivan Barnett – Artist and Gallery Owner.
At the same time, approximately 75 artworks by Isa will be offered for sale, in partnership with Newman Galleries. Ranging from large framed paintings to small drawings in a wide range of media, all are from the Barnett family collection. Many have never before been seen in public. These will be offered both at UArts and through Newman Galleries in Philadelphia and on the Newman website. A portion of the proceeds of all sales through December 31 will benefit student scholarships at the University of the Arts, further honoring Isa Barnett.
Isa's illustrations appeared on covers and inside the Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic, Readers' Digest, Life and American Heritage. He also produced illustrations for Random House and a series for Bantam Books. He created works for the 1964 New York World's Fair, Valley Forge National Historical Park, the Gettysburg Museum and the Franklin Mint, as well as art stamps for the Museum Council of the United Nations. After a trip to the Southwest, Isa fell in love with the unique beauty of the region and with the pageantry of the Pueblo Indians of northern New Mexico; both greatly influenced his work, which often featured rich colors that reflected the grandeur of the landscape
Isa approached life with endless curiosity and appreciation for the world around him – from World War II to Vietnam to the Philadelphia suburbs, from commercial work in advertising to historical illustration, brilliant landscapes and be-ribboned Matachine dancers. "My father saw beauty and stories in everything around him," said Ivan. "He loved American history and especially the Native American peoples of the Southwest. He took me as a child to New Mexico and was fond of saying, 'The dust never left my boots or the hood of my car.'"
At age 16, Isa was granted the prestigious Thornton Oakley four-year scholarship to the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, now the University of the Arts. Throughout his more than 60 years as an artist, he produced works in all media, including oil, charcoal, pen and ink, acrylic, bronze, watercolor, marble and calligraphy. In later years, he became fascinated with the medium of pastel, his "vehicle for spontaneity" in painting both landscape and still life, in the East and in New Mexico.
Always an educator and mentor, for two decades Isa Barnett served as an esteemed, influential and inspirational faculty member at UArts. Many letters of tribute have already arrived from former colleagues and students. An open book at the “Generation to Generation” exhibition will enable others to write their remembrances of Isa, who was for many “larger than life.”
Ivan Barnett works in many capacities, including artist, advisor, writer and gallery director. As director of Patina Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M., he partners with his wife, Allison Buchsbaum-Barnett, also an artist. The two have established Patina as an important venue for the exhibition of fine art jewelry and craft, and a destination for an international clientele of collectors. Of the three brothers in the Barnett family, Ivan is the one who followed his father around in his studio from the time he was 5 years old, attended UArts and became a fine artist, inspired by his father.