Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art  
Home Donate Contact Us


  SAMA Collections



collections > permanent collection > prints > will barnet
Will Barnet
(American, 1911-2012)
Atalanta, 1975
Serigraph, artist’s proof, 30” x 23”
Gift of the artist, courtesy of Harmon-Meek Gallery (96.041)

Over the course of his long career, Will Barnet has gained a reputation for both his abstract and his figurative art.  Atalanta is one of the artist’s characteristic large screenprints of the 1970s, and features a young woman in an interior with two birds and an apple.  Like much of Barnet’s later figurative work, it emphasizes decorative aspects over narrative content, and is notable for its smooth and crisp linear style.  Although its subject is somewhat enigmatic, the title of the work refers to a Greek myth featuring the huntress and athlete Atalanta, who swore to marry no man unless he could beat her in a footrace.  The successful suitor was Melanion, also known as Hippomenes, who with the help of the goddess Aphrodite obtained three golden apples, which he tossed behind him to distract Atalanta and slow her down before she could overtake him.

Barnet was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, and studied in Boston and at the Art Students League of New York, where he later became an instructor.  During the 1940s, he was a member of a small group of abstract painters that gained attention for works based on Native American design principles.  Today, however, Barnet is best known for his figurative art.  Barnet has been the subject of dozens of solo exhibitions and is represented in the collections of major museums across the country.