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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 20th century: Positano

Will Barnet
oil on canvas
57 x 42 1/4 in. (144.8 x 107.3 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.


Meet Will Barnet 17.6MB

". . . I'm a great believer in limitations. The better you understand limitations, the greater an artist you can become." Barnet, interview with Jordana Pomeroy, 1990

Will Barnet painted Positano in New York based on his memory of a moonlit night along Italy's southern coast. He had created monumental abstract canvases for several years and was about to return to painting human figures. This work hints at the shapes of heads and arms silhouetted against a luminous sky, but the darker forms themselves also suggest the vastness of a pitch-black night. In this way, the two principal areas of color shift back and forth from solid forms to empty spaces.

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