Arts Everyday Living: Discovering Women Artists–Alice Pike Barney, An American Visionary

 

Have you heard of Alice Pike Barney (1857-1931)? Hopefully, with the present focus on women artists, many of them overlooked by historians and the art world in general, her name as well as extensive body of artistic work will be better known to us. In fact, Barney and her two daughters, one a poet and the other a sculptor, are now featured in a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Although originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Barney considered the nation’s capitol her home, dedicating herself to making it a cultural and creative center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among her contributions is the National Sylvan Theater, near the Washington Monument, which still presents concerts, plays and films free to the general public. The Smithsonian American Art Museum also holds a comprehensive collection of her paintings, pastels and drawings, including the two self-portraits displayed below. Created almost a decade apart, do they offer us very different views of Barney?

 

Alice Pike Barney, Self Portrait in Repose, ca. 1895, pastel on paper, 28 1/2 x 22 1/2 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Gift of Laura Dreyfus Barney and Natalie Clifford Barney.

 

Alice Pike Barney, Self Portrait with Palette, ca. 1906, oil on canvas, 33 1/4 x 24 1/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Gift of Laura Dreyfus Barney and Natalie Clifford Barney

 

 

 

The Smithsonian American Art Museum does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the Smithsonian American Art Museum participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions), Smithsonian.

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