This painting from 1939, entitled Meditation, is derivative of the cubist styles that Barrett may have studied.
Well-known European painters such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque carried the Cubist Art Movement between 1900 and 1920. Popularized by Max Weber, cubism took root in New York City during the 1920s.
Although this oil painting by Barrett does not evoke the same jarring cubist styles of that of Picasso or Weber, there are elements of similarities: for example, the line and coloring. Barrett uses a dark palette throughout the composition, save for the red section located near the bottom right of the portrait. Additionally, the shapes throughout the work – the thick lines used to outline the face and clothes of the figure remind us of other cubist works.
We also found in the archives a 1946 photograph of three Barrett works hung on display, including “Meditation”. Note its previous, ornate frame.
"From the Archives" is brought to you by Jean Hinkley. Ms. Hinkley is a graduate student of museum studies at Marist College. Growing up in Poughkeepsie influenced the way that Jean approaches thinking about cultural institutions, particularly in how to engage with local communities. Her research within the Barrett Art Center archives seeks to shed light on the unique character of Thomas Barrett and demonstrate that there is much to learn from our Hudson Valley history.