Jack Edward Barber

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Jack Edward Barber
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BornSeptember 1, 1918
DiedApril 24, 2003
Alma materKansas City Art Institute
OccupationVersatile artist

Jack Edward Barber (September 1, 1918 – April 24, 2003) was a versatile artist working in oil, Tempera, acrylics, Watercolor painting, graphics, and sculpture. He preferred En plein air|, and was especially fond of painting seascapes on the Oregon Coast.


Barber attended the Kansas City Art Institute from 1938-1940, where he studied painting under Thomas Hart Benton (painter). It was from Benton that Barber learned the technique of Tempera painting; a popular medium of Regionalism (art) at the time. Barber also studied lithography under John de Martelly, and sculpture under Wallace Rosenbauer. Among the other students attending the Kansas City Art Institute with Barber were two of his friends, Roger Medearis and Kenneth Riley.

World War II interrupted Barber's art education when he joined the United States Army Air Corps; serving in the 347th Air Service Group with assignments on the Island of Trinidad in the Caribbean and on Iwo Jima in the South Pacific. Following the War, Barber – like many of Benton’s Kansas City Art Institute students at the time - found that Regionalist painting was no longer popular; having been replaced by Abstract expressionism. Although he continued to paint as an avocation, Barber did not return to art full-time until 1967, when he completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whitworth University, and then served as the head of the art department at Oregon City High School until his retirement in 1985. In 1974, Barber completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where Floyd E. Breinholt was his graduate/thesis advisor. At BYU, Barber also studied under Joseph Mugnaini, an artist-in-residence during the Summer of 1970. Mugnaini was the head of the Drawing Department at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California.

In 1993, Barber was invited to participate in an exhibition of paintings by Thomas Hart Benton and his students. Sponsored by the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, the exhibit included 178 works, including three by Barber; one of which is included in this article. The exhibit resulted in a book authored by Marianne Berardi, Under the Influence: The Students of Thomas Hart Benton, and published the same year (1993) by the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri.


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