Jennifer Bartlett is the daughter of a pipeline engineer and a fashion illustrator. In the late 1950s she attended Mills College, an unconventional school in Oakland, California, that encouraged experimentation and discouraged textbooks. Her senior work earned her a spot in Yale’s graduate art program, where she argued with everyone and worked her way through the “isms” of 1960s art. Bartlett labored in an industrial loft in New York’s SoHo district until her breakthrough in 1976, when a collector bought one of her grid paintings for forty thousand dollars. In 1985 she published a mock autobiography titled History of the Universe. Bartlett married Mathieu Carrière, a French actor, in 1980, and divides her time between France and New York.