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Will Barnet

Study for Self-Portrait
1982–1983
charcoal on vellum with traces of colored pencil
47 1/2 x 38 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist

Will Barnet has relied heavily on his own family as models. In Study for Self-Portrait, the painting on the easel behind the artist shows his wife, Elena, and their cat, cradled on her shoulder as if it were a child. Relationships—between people, between man and animal, between man’s interior and exterior selves, between art and nature—have been the pivotal concern in his art. Here, in addition to his relationship with his wife and cat, he investigates his own identity as an artist.