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 Bo (James William III) Bartlett  (1955 - )



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Lived/Active: Georgia      Known for: mod-real figure, genre, and portrait painting

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Bo Bartlett
An example of work by Bo (James William III) Bartlett
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Columbus, Georgia, Bo Bartlett became an artist in the large scale, grand style of American narrative painting, an interest and talent he pursued from his teen-age years. His pieces, often posing questions about everyday life, are inspired by many facets of his own life including his religious faith, family, interest in baseball and football, Hitchcock films, and friendship with Andrew and Betsy Wyeth.

He studied in Florence, Italy with Ben Long IV, a student of Italian Fresco painter Pietro Annigoni, and with Ives Gammel in Boston and Aaron Shickler and Harvey Dinnerstein in New York.

He married and had a family with his high-school sweetheart, Melonie, and often used family members as models for his paintings. In 1975, they moved to Philadelphia where he studied realist painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Ben Kamihira, Morris Blackburn, and Sidney Goodman. He also apprenticed with portrait painter Nelson Shanks.

In 1986, Bartlett received a degree in film making from New York University and filmed a documentary, "Snow Hill," on the life and work of Andrew Wyeth. In 1993, he received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. A special exhibition of his painting was held at the Rockford Illinois Art Museum from November, 1998 to January, 1999.

Art in America, March 1995

Biography from The Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia:
Bo Bartlett was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1955.  As a child, he was fascinated by drawing and art in general.  Realizing his path in life early on, he began to pursue those artists that would offer guidance, which would provide the foundations of his artistic vision.

The first place that Bartlett visited was Florence, Italy, where in 1974, he went to study with Ben Long and then to Boston to study with Ives Gammel.  After Boston, Bartlett moved to New York to study with Aaron Shikler and Harvey Dinnerstein.  In 1975, Bartlett moved to Philadelphia so that he could attend the University of the Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (where Bartlett studied under Ben Kamihira, Morris Blackburn, and Sidney Goodman). Bartlett also worked with Nelson Shanks.

In the tradition of Thomas Eakins, Bartlett studied anatomy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Thomas Jefferson University.  In 1993, Bo Bartlett received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.  His paintings are usually figurative, large scale and charged with spiritual, psychological and art historical meanings. His family regularly appears in his work. (1)

Bartlett lives and works in Seattle, Philadelphia, Columbus and Maine, but in many cases his artwork is rooted in a Southern Gothic tradition where the desperation and frustration being suffered by the characters are reminiscent of the work of Faulkner or Williams. (2)

Sources include:

1. I am indebted to David Sheep for providing this succinct biographical sketch.

2. Charles More, introduction for Bo Bartlett: Paintings and Drawings, 1983-1985 (Philadelphia: The More Gallery, 1985), n.p.

Submitted by Charles T. Butler, Columbus Museum

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