Theme/Style – Modernism, Surrealism, American Romantic paintings
Media – Oils
Artistic Focus – It took many years, but critics and the public eventually came to recognize what his fellow artists saw early on: Barnes was an accomplished artist, one who took a highly individualistic approach to his work. Often described as a painter who just wanted to paint, not to make a statement nor to gain fame, Barnes's early canvases offered recognizable backgrounds and groups of people. In his later works the background became infinity, and his people a single man who seemed overwhelmed by his surroundings. There is no superficiality in his work – rather, it offers a simple, yet strong, emotional effect; a polished, jade-like surface that glows with its own inner light; and a nocturnal, fantastic and improvisational mood.
Career Highlights –
• Born in 1880 in Kilmarnock, Scotland, Matthew Barnes came to the United States in 1904, and spent two years in New York City working as an ornamental plasterer.
Additional biographical material and full bibliographic references are available upon request.
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