The Richard Bartow Trust is pleased to announce that four of the artist’s works have been added to the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Daydream, Autobiographical Hawk, Coyote Going, and Self in Monet’s Hat were chosen as representative of the artist’s work. Bartow’s long-time gallerist and friend, Charles Froelick, said that "the four drawings span from Bartow’s earliest mature compositions in 1979 to one of the last years of his life, 2014, and include themes he plumbed deeply: self-examination; connection to his Indigenous heritage; and locating his place among the history of global artists both ancient and contemporary. Bartow developed his explosive and finely articulate drawing technique first with shiny black graphite, then with boldly colored soft pastels. This collection of drawings exemplifies Bartow's brilliant mark-making and storytelling. It is a great honor knowing that they now reside at the world-renowned Whitney Museum.”
Rick Bartow (Wiyot), born on the Oregon Coast, is one of Oregon’s most important contemporary artists. A member of the Mad River Band of the Wiyot, Bartow’s great-grandfather left his tribal homeland in northern California nearly 100 years ago to homestead in Oregon where the Bartow family has lived ever since. In the early 1970s Bartow served in the Vietnam War. He picked up the guitar as a teenager and both music and the visual arts served as powerful creative outlets throughout his lifetime. In 1969 he graduated from Western Oregon State College with a BA in Secondary Art Education.
Central to Bartow’s work is the theme of transformation, particularly between the human and animal realms, often juxtaposing physical and spiritual dimensions of existence. Among numerous awards, Bartow received an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art in 2001, and a Flintridge Foundation Award in 2002. His work is held in major public and private collections nationally and internationally. A pair of his monumental sculptures grace the National Mall, commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC in 2012.
Considered one of the most important leaders in contemporary Native American art his art is held in over 100 public collections and was subject of over 100 solo exhibitions at museums and galleries
Karen Murphy, representing the Estate of Bartow, said “Since the Trust was established in 2016, getting Rick's work accepted by the Whitney has been our North Star. We express deep gratitude to the many individuals who contributed to this endeavor. Through it all, Rick's spirit and values infused the process and we are thrilled that he is garnering this well-deserved recognition.”